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From A Rash Teapot Buyer To An Expert Purple Clay Teapot Collector

06.17.2009 · Posted in Food and Beverage 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.nnIn the 1970s, there were just a few antique markets in Beijing. Liu went shopping just like his father had, and began visiting Tianqiao, Deshenmen, and Shichahai, all venues that featured traditional items. He was searching for ‘treasures.’nnOne day, Liu hit a second-hand curio market. He purchased nearly 50 secondhand Yixing purple clay teapots! Then he hurried home excitedly, and dipped all the treasures into a tank. He was petrified by what he saw. The handles and spouts dropped one by one off the teapots. It turns out he bought many worthless, broken teapots pieced together by glue. He was taught a costly lesson.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.nnHe concluded that this purple clay teapot was made by Pei Shimin, a master potter of Yixing in the late Qing Dynasty. It was covered with a layer of yellow glaze. The teapot, which had gone through two separate firings, was exceptionally beautiful. Nowadays, this kind of purple clay teapot can only be seen at the Forbidden City or in museums.nnBroken Bones Instead of Broken PotsnnUnderstanding 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.nnBut all of sudden, an old man walked in front of Liu. To prevent from bumping into the old man, Liu rolled down and off his bicycle. In the blink of an eye, he gripped his teapot fast, and let his hipbone, instead of the teapot, hit the ground first. As a result, a hipbone fracture laid him up for twelve months. Whenever his friends referred to his incident, they would gasp in admiration at how Liu loves his purple clay teapots much more than his bones.nnNow Liu has been collecting purple clay teapots for over thirty years. He describes each of his unique teapots as his son. His collections prove that he has a sharp eye for purple clay teapots.nnLiu thinks an Yixing purple clay teapot inevitably involves its creator’s ingenuity, workmanship, and vision. And he says a purple clay teapot embodies its collector’s ability to find good things, and a little luck.

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