The shape of this teapot is either called 線瓢 (Xiàn piáo) or 芭樂 (Bālè). Both names (scoop and guava) suggest a round shape in a poetic way.
Ancient Chinese were very creative and full of imagination to create names for tea and tea ware. This state of mind brings a lot of pleasure when creating a Cha Xi, but it can be dangerous to listen too closely to the wonderful stories told by teapot vendors. When selecting a teapot, I recommend a more utilitarian approach.
The quality of the clay and a good firing are what matters most. With these 2 teapots, we can see that the craftsmanship isn't very refined. They were made in large series. But on the positive side, the material used is genuine and the cover produces a high pitched sound when it touches the body of the teapot. This is a sign of a a high temperature firing that has hardened the clay very well.
Above, the teapot is made with Hungni, red Yixing clay.
The volume of the teapot is 105 ml (10.5 cl) and it weighs 102 grams (may vary slightly from pot to pot).
Here is its twin teapot made zisha clay. A close inspection of the surface shows an interesting and natural material.
We can also see that these pots have a small, single hole. This is also the case with many high quality teapot I have encountered. This isn't a problem with most teas, except when they are very broken.
The teapots have one marking under the lid.
They perform well with Oolong and puerh. The rounding, mellowing effect isn't too strong. The teapot doesn't hollow out the tea. The scents of the tea are respected and come out naturally. The hungni seems a little bit brighter than the zisha in terms of fragrance. It's a better fit for fresh and light teas. The zisha, on the other hand, would be a better fit with roasted Oolongs or darker puerhs.
The chop under the teapot simply says 'China Yixing'.
I recommend that you rinse your teapot several times with boiling water. You can also let it soak in mineral water for a day, rinse it and dry it in the sun. This will help remove the storage smells that have accumulated. I don't recommend boiling it in tea leaves or to clean it with chemicals.
However, this kind of teapot will benefit greatly from a regular usage. That's the best way to create a natural and shiny patina.
My name is Stéphane Erler. I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.