9.5 x 19.0 x 11.3 overall:
a - Part a - pot; 8.9 x 19 x 11.3cm; height x width x depth
b - Part b - lid; 3.1 x 8.1cm; height x diameter
Yixing pottery in Jiangsu Province dates from the sixteenth century and is one of the most famous of the Chinese ceramic wares. Yixing potters have always specialised in the making of teapots, and for centuries the educated and dilettante scholar-officials who were arbiters of taste in China, esteemed Yixing ware as the best for brewing tea.
Yixing teapots were in demand not only in China, but also in Europe which imported them to use when sampling new shipments of tea from the East.
With the founding of the Republic of China in 1912 patronage for Yixing shifted from the mandarin scholars to commercial firms. Production ceased 1940-1954 because of the Japanese invasion and subsequent civil war. When production resumed in the by-then nationalised companies, potters were still permitted to place their seals on the pots which they made, in the traditional manner. However this changed during the Cultural Revolution (1968-78) when the base bore only the 4-character stamp 'Zhongguo Yixing' seen on this piece. After the end of the Cultural Revolution, potters were again allowed to sign their work, as in this teapot.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 1991.