- Tea Knowledge
This sweeping gaiwan in the established Fen Yin style makes several bold choices in its design: the saucerless modern form is taken to a tall, upright profile more resembling a large drinking cup, and the button on the lid has notably been replaced by a drop-shaped knob. The shape is all the more striking in the pale glaze with exposed dark rims and foot, but most delightful of all is the subtle texture of surface. What from a distance appears glossy is revealed up close to have the fine grain of a silver nitrate photo, on top of which, a network of large cracks promises to stain with time in the pattern known as 'iron wire, gold thread', a nod to the old tradition of Ge ware. Bearing supreme elegance, this gaiwan suggests itself for the most refined of functions, though of course any occasion to make tea is reason enough to enjoy its glittering beauty.
See the Fen Yin Cup for a matching accompaniment.
The Fen Yin style
Fen Yin is a technique and style of pottery first developed in China, which later made its way through Korea to Japan. Beginning as a way to create a paler ground than the underlying clay for colored glazes or patterns, a thick and opaque powder glaze was first applied. The form of the glaze, and its resultant appearance, as if the dark ceramics had been covered by a layer of white powder, lent the technique its name. While China and Korea moved on to refined porcelain and celadon, Japan continued and evolved the Fen Yin style, and under the influence of the mingei movement and postwar culture in the 20th century, a clean, minimal aesthetic of black and white with textured surfaces has emerged. Reflected back into China, among other places, it's a lovely thread connecting modern ceramics with historical crafts.
About the artist
Li Siqi is an emerging Jingdezhen potter. After graduating from the Fine Arts Department of Jiangxi Normal University, she spent half a year practicing ceramics at kilns in the southwest of China with a focus on sculpture and pottery. She fell in love with celadon and the Hutian kiln* (湖田窑), a famous kiln of the Song Dynasty, and has devoted herself to exploring the history of the craft.
In 2018, she established Qiwei (lit. ‘seven flavors’) Ceramics Studio in Jingdezhen, the capital of porcelain. It continues to inherit from the classic kilns, combining Song Dynasty gracefulness (Song Yun (宋韵), lit. ‘Song rhyme’) with modern lifestyles to create teaware with a historical touch for elegant yet practical chaxi.
*Hutian kiln is located is located in the Hutian Village, a suburb of Jingdezhen. The Hutian porcelain wares of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) were mainly decorated with fine patterns and made into beautiful shapes.