Lotus Flower With Poem Ceramic Gaiwan
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This gaiwan holds 150 ml of liquid which is one of our smallest ones. It is very good for individual service, or you can use it to share tea with friends, just pour the tea out into a pitcher before serving. This gaiwan is unusual, the saucer is flat instead of having an indent, so the gaiwan rests flat which became popular during the Qing Dynasty. The painting is an exact drawing of the lotus flower, instead of a interpreted drawing. In Chinese, an exact depiction is called “gong bi”. The gaiwan is delicately hand painted with a poem that reads left to right. There are two large characters that read “Qing Hua” which is the name of the poem, meaning “dark green lotus”. The poem describes the center of the lotus flower, with roots that are red as fresh hibiscus with dark green leaves floating on the surface of the water. According to Buddhism, the lotus flower brings peace to the mind and body. A bird is standing on the branch of the lotus flower, and the picture is also painted on the lid and saucer. It is colorful but not overwhelming, just like having the habit of drinking tea everyday. Tea is mild and can bring peace and enjoyment, but will not overpower you.
This gaiwan is made of Jing De Zhen porcelain. During the Han Dynasty (25-200 AD) Jing De Zhen, located in northeast Jiangxi Province next to yellow mountain, began producing porcelain. In this time, the porcelain was very thick and not good quality. During the Song Dynasty, the quality became much better because the emperor chose Jing De Zhen porcelain as a tribute material. Jing De Zhen porcelain is famous for delicate hand painting. All the masters are very skilled and need to be well trained. They use special clay to produce pieces that are white as jade, playing with natural glaze to create a shiny mirror effect with paper thin walls. They produce all types of porcelain products, and is not specific to only teaware.
The name “China” to describe porcelain was coined hundreds of years ago when China was selling porcelain to the western world. People would ask where the porcelain came from and the Chinese would say “Chang Nan”. To foreign buyers who were not fluent in Chinese, they created the word “China” which was close in pronunciation. According to legend, the gaiwan was invented in Sichuan during the Tang Dynasty between 780-783. The daughter of Xi Shuan Jie Du Shu, a general, invented the first gaiwan because in the Tang Dynasty, most tea was served in bowls. She would always burn her fingers when she tried to hold the bowl, so she decided to use a wooden circle sealed with wax to hold the tea bowl in place. Later, they used paint to stick the cup to the wood. Eventually, they would indent pieces of wood so the gaiwan would stay stable, eventually adding a lid to keep it warm and the aroma close to the tea. Gaiwans are also named “san cai bei” which means three piece treasure cup. Even now, Sichuan mainly uses gaiwans for tea service. They can range from being small and delicate to a large size like rice bowls. Sichuan is where tea culture was birthed, and these cups and other traditionals eventually spilled in to other tea regions.
Gaiwans are very useful. You can use them to drink tea by yourself, or your can pour the tea from the gaiwan into a pitcher and serve the tea to friends. In Sichuan, they have five steps for using a gaiwan. Use hot water to wash the tea bowl, tea leaves and bottom part to warm up and clean the gaiwan. Add about 3-5 grams of tea. Pour hot water from one point on the side of the gaiwan, instead of straight in. This will help stir the tea leaves. Infuse about 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. If you are right handed, hold the bottom with your left hand and open the lid with your right hand to smell the aroma. Use the lid to sweep back the tea leaves a few times to bring the stronger flavor from the bottom to mix with the lighter flavored tea on top. Sip from the open space. Using a gaiwan is a very calm and soothing way to drink tea, gently moving the tea leaves inside the gaiwan.
Lotus Flower With Poem Ceramic Gaiwan brewing guidelines
Learn how to brew tea in your gaiwan: