Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Story of Zisha Teapots

Compiled from Origins of Chinese Tea and Wine
        Once upon a time, a poor boy by the name of Gong Chun from Dingshan Town approached Master Jingxu from Zuyun Temple and asked Master Jingxu to take him as his apprentice. It turned out Gong Chun had heard that Master Jingxu was an expert on making zisha teapots.
        Master Kingxu agreed and took Gong Chun in as his apprentice. However, he made it clear that only Gong Chun could decide if he’d learn anything. Gong Chun stayed at the temple, but the monks only assigned menial tasks to him and taught him nothing. Gong Chun however, was determined to learn and secretly observed Master Jingxu and diligently practiced making teapots during his spare time.
        One day, Gong Chun chanced upon an old peach tree. He thought it was lovely and immediately started thinking how he could transfer the patterns of the tree onto the teapots. He decided to use the trunk of the tree as the body of the teapot; the branches as the handle and spout. Finally, he decorated the pot with flowers and leaves. As he was working on the teapot one day, he suddenly heard someone behind him say, ‘That’s beautiful! Your skills have exceeded mine.’ Startled, he turned around and saw Master Jingxu standing behind him.
        Upon closer examination, Master Jingxu declared that such a beautiful teapot could be used to make offerings to the Spring God. As such, Master Jingxu decided to call it The Spring Offering Pot. It wasn’t long before it became known as the best zisha teapot in town.
        One day, the magistrate was in town. Upon hearing about Gong Chun’s Spring Offering Teapot, he sent his official to locate Gong Chun. Gong Chun was given three months to make a teapot finer than the Spring Offering Pot or face the consequences. A furious Gong Chun decided to ridicule them and made a teapot with a toad as the lid for the magistrate. This toad apparently resembled the magistrate, and it soon became a private joke among the officials. 


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