Chinese Flower Shape Teapot Styles

Chinese culture has a deep appreciation for the beauty of flowers, and this admiration is reflected in the artistry of flower-shaped teapots. These teapot styles not only showcase exquisite craftsmanship but also carry symbolic meanings associated with different flowers. Here are some notable Chinese flower-shaped teapot styles:

Chinese Bao Chun teapot (报春壶)
Image: Bao Chun teapot

Bao Chun Teapot: Embracing Spring with Floral Delights

The Bao Chun teapot (报春壶), also known as the primrose teapot or herald spring teapot, holds a special place among the classic purple sand pots. Its unique shape often resembles a heart, featuring elegant lines, a high foot, and a graceful neck hoop. Adorned with intricate depictions of blossoms, peach, and other natural elements, this teapot captures the essence of nature’s beauty. Every detail, from the branches used as handles, spouts, and buttons to the carefully arranged knots and scars, reflects the artist’s mastery of both form and function. The Bao Chun teapot is like a vibrant portrait, a harmonious blend of randomness and artistic rules, reminiscent of the expressive brushwork found in traditional Chinese painting. It symbolizes the tenacity and spirit of nature, heralding the arrival of spring and infusing the surroundings with a subtle fragrance.

Chinese Hulu teapot (葫芦壶)
Image: Hulu teapot

Hulu Teapot: Embracing Tradition and Auspiciousness

The Hulu teapot (葫芦壶), as its name suggests, takes its inspiration from the distinctive shape of a gourd melon. Gourd pots are a cherished classic in the world of purple clay teapots, thanks to their auspicious symbolism deeply rooted in Chinese culture. The gourd, considered a primitive talisman, represents good fortune and nostalgia for home. It is believed to ward off negative energies and attract abundance. The gourd teapot, belonging to the esteemed collection of Mansheng’s eighteen styles, has captivated artists and pot enthusiasts alike with its timeless appeal. It serves not only as a functional teapot but also as a meaningful artifact and treasured item for collectors.

Chinese Shou Tao teapot (寿桃壶)
Image: Shou Tao Teapot

Shou Tao Teapot: Embracing Longevity with the Birthday Peach

The Shou Tao teapot (寿桃壶), also known as the peach birthday teapot, pays homage to the auspicious peach symbolizing longevity. In Chinese folklore, the elderly birthday star is often depicted holding a large birthday peach, believed to grant a long and prosperous life. Skilled pot makers display their ingenuity by sculpting a longevity peach as a button on the teapot lid, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship that is both intricate and admirable.

Chinese Yu Hua Long teapot (鱼化龙壶)
Image: Yu Hua Long teapot

Yu Hua Long Teapot: Fish Transforming into Dragon, the Symbol of Greatness

The Yu Hua Long teapot (鱼化龙壶), also referred to as the fish turning into dragon teapot, embodies the traditional Chinese symbolic pattern known as the “change of fish and dragon.” This metaphorical transformation signifies a remarkable ascent, akin to being inscribed on the golden list of achievements. It features a dragon head combined with a fish body, representing the concept of “dragon and fish mutual transformation.” With its origins rooted in the ancient fish totem worship during the prehistoric Yangshao Culture-Banpo era, the legend suggests that the dragon head and fish body came about when a carp mistakenly swallowed dragon balls. This powerful symbol encapsulates the pursuit of excellence and prosperity.

Chinese Shuchai Sanyou teapot (束柴三友壶)
Image: Shuchai Sanyou teapot

Shuchai Sanyou Teapot: The Harmonious Trio of Pine, Bamboo, and Plum

The Shuchai Sanyou teapot (束柴三友壶), also known as the three friends of Shuchai, beautifully incorporates the essence of pine, bamboo, and plum trees. The teapot’s body resembles a bundle of these three trees, meticulously crafted to showcase the scales and needles of the pine, the branches and flowers of the plum, and the nodes and leaves of the bamboo. Each element is delicately carved and placed to create a sense of natural beauty, revealing both complexity and order. The handle of the pot mimics the elegant curve of a pine branch, while the flowing shape of the pot evokes the horizontal growth of a plum branch. The cover button cleverly takes the form of a bamboo joint. Adding to its charm, two little squirrels are sculpted within a small hole in the trunk. This teapot embodies a remarkable fusion of natural aesthetics and masterful artistry, making it a highly esteemed and sought-after piece. Appreciating the Shuchai Sanyou teapot allows one to discern the firmness of pine, the grace of bamboo, and the purity of plum blossoms—qualities cherished by scholars. Its refined concept, exquisite craftsmanship, and elevated cultural significance make it an exquisite heirloom vessel that only a true master of floral teapots can create. By utilizing natural branches and imbuing lifelike details, this teapot showcases the pinnacle of craftsmanship.

Chinese Foshou teapot (佛手壶)
Image: Foshou teapot (佛手壶)

Foshou Teapot: Capturing the Beauty of Buddha’s Hand

The Foshou teapot (佛手壶), also known as the bergamot teapot, is a stunning creation by purple sand artists inspired by the unique shape of Buddha’s hand, a citrus fruit also known as “flower goods” in Yixing. Artists skillfully incorporate images of animals and plants to sculpt the teapot, resulting in a realistic and artistic masterpiece.

The Foshou teapot takes its name from the bergamot fruit, a member of the Rutaceae citron family known for its ornamental and medicinal value. Resembling a magical hand, the bergamot is commonly found in the southern regions of China and has been cultivated since the Song Dynasty. Its title further enhances its auspicious and lucky connotations.

Chinese Mudan teapot (牡丹壶)
Image: Mudan teapot

Mudan Teapot: Praises to the Peony, China’s National Flower

The Mudan teapot (牡丹壶), also referred to as the peony teapot, was created by Master Jiang Rong as a tribute to and celebration of New China.

The peony, with its captivating beauty and heavenly fragrance, reigns as the king of flowers. Its large blossoms, vibrant colors, and elegant allure have long been regarded as symbols of auspiciousness and wealth in Chinese culture. It holds a special place as the national flower in the hearts of the Chinese people. Like many Zisha artists, Master Jiang Rong deeply appreciated the care and warmth offered by the Party in this new society, marking the beginning of a new life. In gratitude, she decided to create a work of art to express her wishes, thus choosing the peony as her theme.

Chinese Songshu Putao teapot (松鼠葡萄)
Image: Songshu Putao teapot

Songshu Putao Teapot: A Blend of Nature’s Charm and Leisure

The Songshu Putao teapot (松鼠葡萄), also known as the Squirrel Grape teapot, seamlessly integrates natural elements of animals and plants into purple sand art, capturing a sense of life’s leisurely and relaxed atmosphere. The densely stacked grape clusters symbolize a bountiful harvest and abundance, while the squirrel, a beloved creature, represents joy and the promise of new beginnings. The combination of grapes and squirrels carries the profound meaning of prosperity and the continuity of life.

Chinese Zhu Duan teapot (竹段壶)
Image: Zhu Duan teapot

Zhu Duan Teapot: Celebrating the Splendor of Bamboo

The Zhu Duan teapot (竹段壶), also referred to as the Bamboo Section teapot, is a classic floral pot design among purple sand creations, with bamboo knots serving as its central theme. Yixing, known as the “ocean of bamboo,” is home to vast bamboo forests that adorn the mountains, hills, and even the surroundings of farmhouses in the southern region. Bamboo, one of the “Three Friends” alongside pine and plum, is cherished in Yixing, a flourishing hub of calligraphy and literature. Incorporating bamboo elements into purple sand art feels organic and in harmony with the local culture.

Image: He Lian teapot

He Lian Teapot: Reverence for the Elegant Lotus

The He Lian teapot (荷莲壶), also known as the Lotus teapot, pays homage to the lotus flower with its remarkable symbolism. As the Chinese philosopher Zhou Dunyi praised, the lotus emerges from muddy waters untainted, exuding purity and grace. The lotus, often referred to as the “gentleman among flowers,” grows upright from its center without being rigid or branching out. Its delicate fragrance fills the air, and its pristine presence exudes a sense of cleanliness and beauty. The He Lian teapot encapsulates these qualities, embodying the admiration bestowed upon the lotus by Zhou Dunyi, a renowned Confucian scholar of the Song Dynasty.

Chinese Gong Chun teapot (供春壶 - spring teapot)
Image: Gong Chun teapot

Gong Chun Teapot: Honoring the Arrival of Spring

The Gong Chun teapot (供春壶 – spring teapot), originally known as the “Shuyan pot,” was later renamed to pay tribute to Gongchun, also known as the “Gongchun pot.” This teapot style was pioneered by Gongchun, a renowned pot maker from Yixing, Jiangsu Province, during the Jiajing period of the Ming Dynasty. Gongchun holds the distinction of being the first purple sand artist in history to achieve fame for crafting exquisite purple clay teapots.

Chinese Nan Gua teapot (南瓜壶)
Image: Nan Gua teapot

Nan Gua Teapot: Embracing Nature’s Beauty

The Nan Gua teapot (南瓜壶), also referred to as the Pumpkin teapot, stands as a beloved classic among Yixing Zisha pottery and floral designs. This teapot shape is the result of Zisha artists drawing inspiration from nature’s wonders. The body of the teapot takes on the appearance of a melon, while the stem serves as the button, and the handle resembles a delicate rattan. To enhance its authenticity, the pot’s body is adorned with meticulously crafted plastic stems, whiskers, and leaves, capturing the essence of natural beauty.

Chinese Song Zhu Mei teapot (松竹梅)
Image: Song Zhu Mei teapot

Song Zhu Mei Teapot: Embracing the Noble Trio of Pine, Bamboo, and Plum

The Song Zhu Mei teapot (松竹梅), also known as the Pine-Bamboo-Plum teapot, is a magnificent creation in purple sand pottery that pays homage to the trio of pine, bamboo, and plum. These plants, collectively referred to as the “Three Friends of Winter,” have earned their name for their ability to endure and flourish even in the harshest of conditions. In traditional Chinese culture, they symbolize noble character and serve as a metaphor for loyal friendship. “Under the weight of heavy snow, the green pine remains upright and resolute,” “Before spring arrives, the plum blossoms exude their fragrance, ever poised for greatness,” and “The sharpness of the sword is forged through grinding, just as the sweet fragrance of plum blossoms emerges from bitter cold.”

Chinese Zhu Gu teapot (竹鼓壶: double-line bamboo drum teapot)
Image: Zhu Gu teapot

Zhu Gu Teapot: Rhythmic Elegance of the Bamboo Drum

Among the exquisite purple sand teapots featuring bamboo motifs, the Zhu Gu teapot (竹鼓壶: double-line bamboo drum teapot) stands as a classic representation. The pot’s design showcases symmetrical bamboo joints and circular patterns at the top and bottom. Employing exaggerated and stylized artistic techniques, the body of the pot takes on the form of bamboo branches, while the buttons and handles elegantly complement the overall aesthetic.

Chinese Feng Juan Kui teapot (风卷葵壶)
Image: Feng Juan Kui teapot

Feng Juan Kui Teapot: The Graceful Dance of the Wind-Rolled Sunflower

The Feng Juan Kui teapot (风卷葵壶), aptly named after the wind-rolled sunflower, beautifully mimics the shape of this majestic flower. The teapot’s pattern boasts regularity and liveliness, with smooth curves that capture the natural and lifelike essence. Its dignified and generous overall appearance exudes simplicity and elegance. Adorned with flowing sunflower leaves and buttons intricately crafted to resemble sunflower stems, the twisting and extending sunflower branches harmoniously blend with the veins, lines, leaves, and stems adorning the pot’s body and lid. This teapot’s exquisite form truly embodies the essence of traditional craftsmanship, making it a revered classic in the world of tea.

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