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From An Amateur Teapot Buyer To A Purple Clay Teapot Collector

07.03.2009 · Posted in Home and Garden Articles

[I:19:J]It seems to be a rule that a serious tea lover is inevitably picky in his tea and tea ware. In China, there are a number of famous Yixing purple clay teapot collectors. Can you imagine how much they love their collectibles? Mr. Liu Tianbao is one of them. This article tells about his real-life experience.nnThe Bad BuynnLiu started collecting purple clay teapots because of his contact with flowerpots. When he was a child, his father had a great taste for miniature landscapes and owned a number of purple clay flowerpots. Liu was unconsciously influenced by what he saw and heard, and gradually took up collecting purple clay.nnBack in the 1970’s, Beijing did not have as many antique markets as today. The only places featuring traditional handicrafts were Tian Qiao, Shi Cha Hai, and De Sheng Men. Following his father’s example, Liu visited these venues to hunt for valuable things.nnOn one occasion, he went to the Panjiayuan Second-hand Antique Market before dawn and bought nearly fifty second-hand purple clay teapots. When he got home and put the pots into a bucket of water, a terrible thing happened. Some pots lost their spout, and others lost their handles. It turned out that they were defective pots that were pasted together by latex.nnDestiny’s ***nn[I:20:J]Many years later, a purple clay teapot caught his eye at a curio market in Tianjin. He wanted to buy it, but he couldn’t afford it. He had to let it go. But 10 years later, he miraculously came across the very same teapot once again at a secondhand curio market in Beijing. This time he caught the opportunity and purchased it straight away.nnBased on his research, the creator of this purple clay teapot was Pei Shimin, one of the most distinguished master potters of the Qing dynasty. The teapot was covered with a layer of yellow glaze. Only a master at could complete such a design at that time, as it required the *** to be placed in a kiln at very high temperatures, not once, but twice. At present, you can only find this type of purple clay teapot at the Forbidden City in Beijing.nnA *** is Like a SonnnUnderstanding the true value of a purple clay teapot, Liu knows how to cherish them. Once he bought a purple clay teapot made in the late Qing dynasty. He carefully put it into his knapsack, and bicycled towards home humming a little tune.nnWhen halfway there, however, a grey-haired man suddenly slipped in front of Liu’s bike. In order to avoid the old man, Liu swerved his bike and fell off right away. In a fraction of a second, he held on to the purple clay teapot with both hands, and his hipbone fell onto the ground heavily. The teapot was intact, but Liu was stuck in bed for 12 months due to a hip fracture. Nowadays, his friends still take delight in talking about Liu’s great sacrifice to the purple clay teapot.nnOver the past 30 years, Liu has been addicted to collecting Yixing purple clay teapots. His face lights up as if he was talking about a family member whenever someone mentions his pots. He seldom makes a mistake now, and as a matter of fact, he has developed a very good eye for purple clay teapots.nnLiu believes that a purple clay master blends his life, inspiration, and pursuit in his work. To Liu, each purple clay teapot or even each grain of purple clay represents good taste and knowledge.

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