Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I had heard, years ago about how, in Japan, they repair pottery using lacquer and so I began my quest to get my lid repaired. After a lot of research I found a man in Japan who does this type of repair and according to the images on his website, he does an incredible job and is quite the artisan. I learned that the lacquer can be done in any color, including the same color as the broken piece, to hide the repair. I decided I did not want to try to hide it. I wanted to celebrate the repair, so I chose matt silver for the repair's color.
The repair is very labor and time intensive. First, the lid needed to be cleaned and prepared so that the lacquer would stick. The lacquer, which is made from the sap of the Varnish Tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum). The lacquer is mixed with sand and a thin layer is applied, which needs at least three days to dry completely. The process is repeated until the chip is filled. Silver powder was applied and when it hardened, another layer of lacquer is applied and when that dried completely it was polished. The whole time my lid was being repaired, I still used my poor lidless teapot and I just dreamed of the day it would be whole.When the lid arrived, I was so excited! I used the teapot all night. Ah, what joy. The repair is perfect. Other than the fact that it is a different color from the teapot, it is as though the chip never existed. He did a fantastic job. Now, every time I use the teapot, I get a real sence of joy. I know I may put too much sentimentality into my zisha tea ware, but each one has its own history and this one, for example has been in my collection for around twenty years and it has seasoned beautifully. A lot of investment is put into each of my zisha teapots and I get very attached to them.
Monday, June 6, 2011
The tea house was originally built, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), as part of the Yuyuan Garden. It is a pavilion located in the middle of a man-made lake, which gives it its name of "Huxinting", which translates as; Mid-lake Pavilion. In 1855, during the reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Emperor Xian Feng, the pavilion was restored and turned into a tea house. It is a two storey structure in classical Chinese architectural style and the atmosphere inside is truly wonderful.
Currently, the tea house is located outside the entrance to the Yuyuan Garden. It is situated between the classic garden, and the Yuyuan Market, which is built with traditional Chinese architectural styles. During the day, the market, garden, and the tea house are packed wall to wall with tourists and it is almost impossible to access the tea house. But, in the evening, the tourists are all gone and all that is left are the locals strolling through the market. It is then that the Huxinting Tea House really shines. The tea house is virtually empty and the atmosphere is so soothing. I like to go to the second floor next to a window and just enjoy the views of the market. No matter what tea your order, you are given a place of traditional Shanghai tea snacks to eat with your tea. They compliment the tea wonderfully. The tea at the tea house is quite good. It is more expensive than if you were to buy the tea in a shop, but you are paying for the atmosphere, use of their tea ware, and the service. It is well worth it in my opinion.
Whenever I visit Shanghai, I make a stop at the Huxinting Tea House. I will generally go the first time by myself and the second evening, I will call some of my local Shanghai friends and invite them for tea. Either way, I settle in for the evening and it is truly joyous.
If you go to Shanghai, please do not miss the tea house, and if you go to the tea house, go in the evening.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
It is a lovely area. The entrance to the area is quite beautiful. It has meandering paths lined with trees and plants and there is a stream running through it filled with koi fish. It occupies a large area with a mountain and it is dotted with tea pavilions and tea houses nestled amongst ancient trees and ferns. Visitors can bring their own tea and sit in one of the pavilions, or can purchase tea in one of the tea houses. It is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.
The well itself is surrounded by a beautiful rockery and the well has a beautiful border that was added during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). There is also a little museum on the site. Few visitors to Hangzhou actually make it to the Dragon Well, but it is very much worth the time.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The area surrounding the museum is filled with tea pavilions and plantings. It looks like a large park surrounding the museum. After entering the gate, you drive down a little road through tea fields. In the distance you can see the mountains covered with tea trees. The entrance to the museum is surrounded by manicured plants and ponds filled with koi fish. Once inside, you are greeted with a 10 meter high waterfall made of stone with the Chinese character for tea carved in it. The first section of the museum shows the history of tea, from its prehistoric beginnings up until today. This area is filled with antiques and even has some tea seed fossils. I am pretty jealous of that! The second section shows the six types of teas, their different varieties and production areas. The third part shows the processing techniques of different teas and has some examples of tea producing equipment. The last section, and my favorite displays antique tea ware. It is an incredible collection and thousands of years of tea ware are exhibited there. Sadly, none of it is for sale. I asked. Haha. after that, there are a few full size duplicates of tea houses from around China. That area is interesting, but could be much more so if they actually used them to give people tea. The museum also has a shop, with a lot of books and, as you can imagine, I kind of go overboard in there.
The grounds are really incredible. They are beautifully manicured
incredibly happy. It must have been some tea.
I don't know if everyone would find the museum interesting, and I do feel that they could do more and update it a bit, but all in all, I love the place very much. I never miss it when I go to Hangzhou.
Friday, April 15, 2011
which I wish to share. I visited the site as a tourist. They had no idea I knew tea and that I worked for a tourism company. I wanted to get an honest feel for the place, as a normal customer would.
When I got off the bus, a guide met me and she started by explaining the tea plantation. We then headed up the hill to look at the tea trees.
They centered around a hill which had a pavilion on top which housed a wok for frying tea. They used it for presentation. She didn't fry any leaves when I was there, because it was not tea season. She then wanted to take me to the shop, but I refused because I
wanted to get some photos. The site is very small. It could be visited in half an hour, but I took much longer because I wanted photos. After I did go to their shop where they showed me the machines they use to make Gaoshan Wulong Tea. Gaoshan Wulong is produced in Taiwan, so the teas they make and sell are fakes. I did drink some tea before leaving. It was very poor quality. Even though I dislike these tourist traps, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.