Masterpiece Yixing Zisha Teapot Three-legged Ru Ding with Clay-Painting Happiness
Name: Three-legged Ru Ding 三足汝鼎
Clay: Yellow Dragon Mountain Aged Zi Ni 原矿老紫泥
Craft master: Shen Rong Xian 范荣仙
Capacity: 450 ml / 15.2oz
Ding is an ancient round shaped vessel for cooking or sacrifice. In Sang era about 1500 BC, Chinese had known to refine bronze and bronze Ding had already been produced for these purposes. It later evolved as a representation of prosperity, auspiciousness, and authority in Chinese history. Dings usually have three legs and two ears. The teapot is an imitation of the ancient Ding with a wide round bottom, and three legs, with a spout and handle serving as the two ears.
The greatest master Gu Jingzhou (顾景舟) recreated the modern version of the Ru Ding teapot in the late 1980s, one of his many iconic great Zisha teapot works. This teapot has since been copied by many younger generation masters. Master Gu raised the three legs and shaped it into the form of a women's breast. The teapot has round large belly, with a wide bottom that tapers upward to a nipple-like bead on the lid. The whole teapot is also shaped like a women's breast, thus the name.
Ru Ding has some variations. This teapot is great imitation of master Gu Jingzhou 's version handmade by senior master Fan Rong Xian. With a full and rounded body shape, full of tension yet with smooth lines, plump yet elegant, this teapot conveys dignity with implicit beauty, balance, and steadiness. The high quality material gives it a warm and naturally radiant appeal. It is also very practical for brewing large leaf teas such as sheng puerh and white tea.
Clay painting is a decorative style in Zisha art. It uses real Zisha clay to apply color to paint a desired picture. The painting shows a big bellied monk sitting atop the leaves of a Puti tree, with his bags of blessings. This high level clay painting gives the teapot an auspicious meaning and good wishes for whomever fate draws near. The calligraphy on the other side of the teapot is "Chan Cha Yi Wei", meaning “Unity of Zen and Tea". A truly great teapot to collect and enjoy for many years to come and to pass on for generations.
Senior master Fan was a member of the first apprentice group admitted to learn and work in the First Zisha Factory in the 1980s when she was 18 years old. She apprenticed under Xu Han Tang (徐汉堂), One of China's Honorary Great Masters of Arts and Crafts, and has been crafting Zisha teapots for 38 years.