Patina

There’s something about slowly using a yixing pot, and the accumulation of a patina after extensive use. I bought a group of five shuipings recently at a local shop, and have only been using one. After using it for no more than six or seven times, the one I use already looks different from the rest – its colour has changed a bit, and the surface seems smoother.

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It’s not obvious – given the lighting and the inherent limitations of my poor photographic skills – that they’re all that different. The one on the left, however, is the one I’ve been using, while the one on the right has never seen any tea. I suspect at least initially, what happens is that the initial seasoning and usage of the pot washes away much of the residue of manufacturing. Also, some of the particles that may be attached to the surface loosely are also removed after having water poured all over the body of the pot. After a while, you have the patina building up, so much so that it forms a distinct surface on the pot itself.

Then there is the natural staining that happens over time, and which is hard to replicate otherwise. Fake pot dealers will normally try to mimic this by using all kinds of stuff – soy sauce, ink, or shoe polish. None quite work and will always look fake, lacking the natural lustre of tea. My lion pot, for example, was really dirty when I bought it. I cleaned it. Then, after a few years of use, it is now dirtier again – but at least this time I know it has been soiled by nothing other than tea stains.

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I don’t really believe in spending too much time polishing my pots or rubbing them much – I just let the patina show up naturally, through use. I don’t even pour much tea at all on my pots. Eventually, with use, the pots will start to change and age. That’s part of the fun of using yixing pots, and with pictures, you can really see the changes that take place over time.


Comments

Patina — 8 Comments

  1. Hey, that is a really beautiful Yixing Teapot with the lion on the lid! I have one with a tiger as I was born in the year of the tiger! Nice entry – I was unaware that people would stain fake Yixing with ink, etc. Can’t belive what people think they can get away with! Keep up the blogging and check out mine if you have time 🙂

  2. Hi Marshaln,
    Interesting post. Although my photo skills also do not compare to many, here is a photo essay of some quite similar pots 😉
    [img]http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ruvFIwu6TbY/T8affvKXrbI/AAAAAAAALWc/D5XzcK6j-9k/s640/IMG_2388.JPG[/img]
    The one on the left is new. The pot on the right has about a year and a half of use. I likewise do little cleaning. The space around the lid and the bottom of the spout seem to see the most staining.

  3. I like shuiping pot most, it’s very easy to use and excellent adaptability.
    My constellation is lion, so, i don’t have any immunity for you lion shuiping….
    In terms of the stain and patina, agree with you, treat your pot with heart, but naturally and go-as-you-please is important… I like your opinion…

  4. Pingback: Raising a yixing pot | A Tea Addict's Journal

  5. Hi! Thank you for this great entry. I’ve been planning on getting a YiXing teapot for a while but I want to make sure I’ve done plenty of research and understanding before acquiring one (especially with a lot of fraudulent or low quality wares out there).
    I have a question I’ve been wondering about. I know that each teapot should be dedicated to one type of tea, like one for oolong, one for green, one for pu-erh, and such. However, do you need a different teapot for different tea flavorings? I love pu-erh, so I’ll use that as an example. I have Sticky Rice Pu-erh, Ripe Pu-erh, Mandarin Pu-erh, and Raw Pu-erh, do I technically need different teapots for each flavoring (that’s a lot of teapots) or can I use the same teapot for all 4?
    I apologize if this seems like a silly question but since this clay teapot is porous and absorbs small amounts of tea flavorings (the mandarin might not mix well with sticky rice?), I just don’t want to mess up a lovely teapot.
    If you read this and can give me quick reply, that would be lovely. Thank you.

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