China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

China Collectibles

I never thought I would be one to collect anything much less tea pots as you see above. I do like the unique and different and while traveling through China for the past 25 years and over 50 trips, one of the things I have collected are these very rare and unique tea pots. They are actually chiseled out of solid stone and then dyed taking on average 6 weeks to make or more. No two are ever alike on purpose. I look at it as an art form rather than to be used as an ordinary tea pot. Little did I realize the first time I found an artist working on one in a park in Suzhou, that they are indeed extremely rare as a lost art. 10 years ago when I first found them I paid $65 on average for one which the ordinary Chinese wouldn't pay using it for a tea pot since clay ones could be bought for less than $2. So there was little market for them and no one was making them except a very few people located in a private school just outside Nanjing where clay tea pots is a very large industry. I have 8 of these wonderful pieces of art in our home and have never found any more again. One seller in Shanghai who was selling them in a park no longer is there having seldom sold any. The location of the quarry for this stone is also unknown other than the stone floors in the Forbidden City are made from the same rock. People in the Ming and Qing Dynasty referred to them as "gold bricks" as the cost of the material at the time was as much as gold. I wrote about them earlier in my blog and have more photos of them including my large family tea pot. Some day you may see them on EBAY of course but for now they remain a rare collectible in my home.  Click on the photo for a full screen view!

No comments: