Art Moment: A Contemporary Xiying Teapot

Pottery has been produced in Yixing, China since Neolithic times. Situated to the west of Taihu, (the Great Lake) in Jiangsu Province, the hills of Xiying are blessed with rich clay deposits, providing an ideal medium for making clay pottery.

Xiying’s reputation is primarily built on the clay teapot, a tradition that dates to the 16th century and which has earned Xiying the reputation of being the “teapot capital” of China. The teapots are hand-made rather than being thrown on the wheel. The hard clay is pounded with a heavy wooden mallet into a slab, and the bodies of the teapots are then made using one of three basic techniques: segmented teapots are press-moulded; round teapots are paddled, and square teapots are made by the slab method. This tradition continues to the present time.

A compressed Yixing teapot and cover, Wang Yinxian (1934-2018). Width: 29 cm. Florence and Herbert Irving Collection, New York.

The featured teapot is a contemporary work by master teapot maker, Wang Yinxian (1943 – 2018). With its highly compressed, curved body and a delicate loop handle that flows from the back to the front of the mouth rim, this teapot exudes graceful elegance, a work that makes one alive to the endless possibility of art.

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