Hui-Chen, I and our guest went to Sanyi last night to look in the multitude of woodworking shops for a nice tea service. Also called a tea tray, these services are not only functional, but extremely beautiful works of art. We do not really have a place in our apartment for it yet, so for the time being its sitting on a low bookshelf. These are some quick shots I took so you could get an idea of the size and shape. I will do some followup shots once its properly situated.
Shot 3 shows the working side of the service. Notice the drain and output tube in the lower right corner. This piece is a wet service, meaning that you drain water and tea right onto the service (and you can see that its wet in the photos). This service was designed for gong-fu style tea brewing. Notice the interesting radii along the various cavities. Those are designed to hold the tea items (which are round) against the carved walls and maintain a harmonious appearance. You can clearly see how the teapots seem to blend into the wood. The actual dimensions are (widest points): 74 cm (side to side) x 63 cm (front to back) x 10.5 cm (height). This thing is big!
I must add that the “specs” seen on the main flat surface are flakes of tea. I had just brewed some tea and decided to take a few shots of the new service in action (notice that one of the teacups is full).
On the way home with our new service, we decided to drop in on Mr. Gan at his tea shop in Hukou. The Master was very interested in seeing our new service so we brought it into his shop, where he proceeded to place his most prized teapots onto it and prepare tea for our distinguished guest from Australia (a Customer of mine).
The last shot that I want to share with you today Dear Reader, is a close up of the teapots that Mr. Gan was showing us. Mr. Gan personally went to Japan to commission the creation of these pots. The Japanese teapot master artisans were not familiar with Chinese teapot designs (which are quite different from Japanese designs), so Mr. Gan personally specified each and every aspect of these teapots.
2 of these teapots are made by an old master artisan, and the rest were made by his son. The handled pot is the most unusual (handled teapots are rare in Taiwan) and the design contains elements of both Japanese (handle) and Chinese (pot and spout) teapot design.
The price of each one of these teapots is US$3,700.