- Tea Knowledge
Brewed tea spews out like bullets from a cast-iron cannon, but this is not the only reason why the Cannon Spout teapot became so famous over the past centuries.
With a jar-shaped body, flat pierced knob, and the straight, tapering spout, its peculiar shape doesn't go unnoticed, and yet its lines are simple and lean. This modest and unadorned style is the reason for the steep increase in its popularity during the late Qing Dynasty, when a large amount of Cannon Spout teapots were exported to Japan to quench the demand of those tea lovers seeking simplicity in an era when overly decorated wares were in style.
Cannon Spout is a teapot for those who find the utmost satisfaction in aesthetic minimalism.
The flat knob
The distinctive feature of this teapot is surely the missing 'gaizhu', which is the Chinese term for the lid's knob. Even the traditional name of the teapot, Ju Lun Zhu (巨轮珠), refers to it; it can be translated as 'Great Wheel Pearl' or 'Wagon Wheel'.
The flat knob is less easy to handle than classical spherical ones, but after some practice, you will be able to finely tune the speed of the flow by passing your finger over the central hole.
The cannon spout
Function and aesthetics of the cannon spout are the main reasons why modern tea lovers favour this teapot. Besides the funny name and curious design, it is the wide range of flow that make it so enjoyable to handle. The shape of the spout combined with the large hole on the knob allows the expert user to control whether the flow is thin and gentle, fast and powerful, or anywhere in between.
Don't dismay if at first you spill all over or hit the table instead of the pitcher—like a heavy weapon, the Cannon Spout teapot is not easy to handle. It requires practice and patience, but rewards those who study it well.
This Cannon Spout Yixing teapot is made of the aged Lao Hongni (老红泥) clay, a red ore extracted several years ago at the mine in Laoshan (拦山).
The clay was stored at the entrance of the mine for more than a decade before being shaped into a teapot and fired. The suffix "lao" ("old" in Mandarin) refers to the long storage.
Why do I need a Yixing teapot?
The material and the shape of Yixing teapots are ideal for brewing tea. They bring out the tea flavour like no other tea vessel. Handmade Yixing teapots are also valuable handicrafts sought after by collectors. Their value raises with time, usage and artist popularity.
Yixing teapots are made of a rare and depleting clay mined in the mountains near Yixing, a city in the Jiangsu province. The high density yet porous nature of the clay absorbs the smell of the tea brewed in it. For this reason, it is advised to use the pot with only one kind of tea (for instance with black teas or green teas). Bring your tea to the next level; allow yourself an authentic Yixing teapot.