(drumroll)….. John of Chabei!
So, how much was it?
Well…. I’ll explain in detail how I got this pot.
So I left the Youji store on Saturday. By that time, it was already 5pm. I decided to wander around the area a little, but most places were either closed, or were not interesting (non-tea related). I walked and walked, and saw this sign across the street – an antique shop that, among other things, sells teapots. Hmmm
I walked up, and noticed that it’s actually two similar looking shops right next to one another. One was closed, the other open, and the pots were right near the door. They looked interesting enough for me to walk in and check them out.
I normally never buy pots from antique stores, mostly because they’re either fake, really expensive, or both. Granted, most of that experience has been in China, where almost everything is fake when you walk into an “antique” store. Then again, this place looked shabby… but I thought it doesn’t hurt to just look.
There were about 20 pots on the little shelf, all of similar size. I picked up a few to check out. Some were bad — obviously poor quality stuff, not obviously faked to be old (they looked rather new, in fact) but just not high quality. Others were in the old Southern Yixing style with the curly spout and the pear shaped body, but the calligraphy on the bottom of the pot was wanting. Then I picked up this thing that I bought…. hmmm, looks ok. I smelled the inside — smells a bit weird, like an old attic. It’s a bit dirty inside too. I asked how much.
350? I thought I heard wrong. Surely, it can’t be 350? But at moments like these, you can’t ask to double check, nor can you really react in any way other than just a simple nod and a little grunt. Anything more, and you might risk an immediate price raise. I put the pot down, looked at some other pots, and asked prices for those too…. turns out they’re ALL 350 NTD, which translates into almost $11 USD. That’s about 5.50 pounds…. just enough for a short ride on the Tube, I think.
I had some reservations about this pot, because it 1) smelled, 2) was a bit dirty, and 3) was almost too cheap. The clay seems to be good, the patina seems really nice (it’s a bit uneven and doesn’t look like the obviously fake patina I’ve seen on some other pots), and the thing feels sort of right. It’s a bit too big for one person, but is perfect for two. On the other hand, the lid is well fitted, the spout looks clean and good, the body was well moulded, the wall is not too thick, not too thin…. hmmm
At 350 NTD, I figured I could take a chance. Worst case scenario, this pot can serve as a decoration. I’ve bought useless souvenirs that cost more. Heck, I’ve bought a bottle of beer that costs more.
So…. now this pot’s with me. I’m trying to see if I can get rid of the attic smell. I’ve brewed some of the cheap and not very great aged oolongs in it already after rinsing it repeatedly with hot water. The first few pots of water brought out a lot of old bits of something (probably a combination of dust and dirt). Now it doesn’t smell like an attic anymore. It just smells like the aged oolong tea. I’ll perhaps try making tea with the pot in a few days and see what happens…
The winning guess was 395 NTD. I wish to make one point clear though — I do not think it is normal for a pot like this (or really, any pot) to sell at this sort of price in Taiwan. While they do obviously exist, as evidenced by my purchase, for the most part pots I’ve seen cost more than this, even small and crappy ones. Not necessarily a lot more, but definitely more. So don’t get the wrong idea 🙂
I do wonder if I should go back there and see if there’s another pot worth gambling on at that store. One or two others looked ok. I’m probably being too picky at this price. The other store also had pots, and since they weren’t lined up near the window, I couldn’t get a closer look. Maybe it’s even cheaper :p
Meanwhile, a few more pics, as requested by Toki.
Thanks for playing 🙂