Name: Xishi Teapot, Literally Lady of the West. According to legends, was one of the renowned Four Beauties of ancient China.
Year: 1980s (White Label period)
Volume: 82 ml
Material: Lüni. Mid/High-fired
Seal: Shan Yue Ban Ren Xing， Meng Chen。
Poem lit. translation: The mountain and the moon accompany people to walk together.
Meng Chen (Hui Meng Chen), a native of Yixing, was a famous potter in the Ming Dynasty. He is famous for his pear-shaped teapots, which had influenced many potters later on. A lot of factory teapots have his name sealed at the bottom. And even at present, many teapots have the Meng Chen seal.
Handle: Xi Hua
Lid: Xi Hua
Filter: Single hole
This teapot is part of a set that consists of ten different shaped teapots and clay made by Factory One. This set was named by Taiwanese collectors the Ten Colour teapots.
The artist who made this teapot, Xu Xi Hua, is one of the most famous Xishi teapot makers from Factory One along with Mao Ying Hong and Xu Fu Zhen. Consider in Chinese like the 三大高手. Lit. The Great Three Masters/Master Hands.
This is a Factory 1 teapot that has Lüni (Literally green clay). The colour of the clay is greenish blue.
The craftsmanship is quite good, the lid is slightly loose and the pouring speed is 9 seconds with slight dripping.
This teapot was used and cleaned, but there are still traces of usage, inside and under the lid the tea stains are very visible.
Before using it I advise you to rinse it with boiling water. Then rinse it with room temperature water and smell inside of the teapot to check if there is some clay smell. Repeat the procedure until the clay smell goes away.
Then you can start making tea but It might take 1-2 weeks, if you use it daily, until it makes decent tea.
You could also follow the more complicated method of boiling the teapot, but it takes more time and the teapot might get broken or cracked during the procedure.
I find this clay an eraser, takes too much aroma and taste from the tea. I brewed aged Sheng Pu with good results. Should do well with darker teas in general, high roasted Oolongs, semi-aged Sheng Puer or old Puer, Shu Puer, etc. But it might suit other teas. You could compare against porcelain to decide what teas brew well in it.
I advise you to experiment with different teas and find the best match according to your taste.
When buying a Factory One pot please be aware that: Generally speaking, these Teapots have no perfect craftsmanship compared to many modern teapots.
You can expect some natural kiln cracks on the surface of the clay. However, it is not like a crack that could be caused by the user that penetrates through the other side clay. You also might find a not perfectly aligned spout, knob and handle, tooling marks on the lid and mouth of the teapot, etc. You should also expect other natural signs from the kiln, i.e. black spots, which is iron oxide that melted during the firing. Inside and outside of the teapot you may also find some mica chips that look like metal spots. Silvery in appearance.
Regarding the lid craftsmanship, rarely you can find a perfect lid fit. Usually, the lid is a bit loose with slight dripping.