Gong Chun teapot

The only remaining work of Gong Chun (1506—1566)
He is regarded as the founder of “Zisha” teapot art

According to a legend, the very first teapot was created by the servant of a scholar, a Jinsha monk, some 500 years ago. 

The servant, Gong Chun, made some teapots inspired by tea-treetrunks that were regarded as very valuable at the time.
Apparently only one survived.

Quite clumsy and rough shaped, it had all the features of a modern teapot.

 

Even to this day this 'original' is being copied over and over and a select group of (mainly Oriental) collectors find pleasure in having it.

Gong Chun teapot

idealized visualisation of the monk admiring his product

In Chinese eyes, the Gong Chun teapot is the ideal size for a teapot: small enough to carry with you and large enough for the fragrance of the tea to flourish.

Chong Chun established the appliqué design-style, imitating nature.

The pot is in the collection of the National Museum of History in Beijing.
Nice details are that he carved his name inside the pot and a fingerprint is visible in the fired clay.

Becoming immortal through a beautiful pot is what every potter (should) strive for....

In 1928, antique collector Chu Nanqiang, bought it for 500 dollars. An amazing sum in those days, but not for this item. Not in China...

After extensive studies, the pot was authenticated and around 1950 donated to the government.

gong-chun


two modern copies/interpretations of the Gong Chun teapot

Gong Chun teapot

Before that time there were pots around that looked like teapots, but they were used to pour wine.

In those days tea was cooked like soup.

With the discovery of making tea, the way we do now, there was the need for teapots for the tea to simmer.

Tea suddenly became a 'cult'.

It is amazing to learn the speed with which this new beverage spread, and now we find teapots all over the world

 

yixing teapot

 

design by Jeroen Bechtold

above: design by Jeroen Bechtold
made in 1998 in Purple Sands Factory No. 5
Limited production (approx. 15 pieces of which 12 in China and Taiwan, 3 in the Netherlands) with JB-designstamp and Purple Sands-stamp

In our industrialized world, for potters the teapot became an archetype, an object in which individualism and history can fuse.

An object, known to all, now, in the hands of the modern potter-artist, past its utilitarian self.

 

It was the Dutch traders who first brought tea, and these Yixing pots to Europe.


Jeroen Bechtold feels very proud to 'round up the circle' by going back to China and having spend some time there.

To actually have pots of his design made by these craftspeople, makes him very proud indeed...

 

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