Monday, January 25, 2010

Brooklyn Treasures - Pt.1

I recently spent the day with Kingston, a Tea Gallery friend and patron who's amassed a lovely collection of old and modern Yixing teapots and some beautiful vintage porcelains. Many of his pieces are on display in his Brooklyn basement turned tearoom. We drank aged puer sitting on antique furniture (from Michael) and I got to feast my eyes on some stunning pieces. He was happy to let me take photos and share a small fraction of what he has with my internet friends. Here's a quick glimpse of what I got to see:

An elaborately decorated, large gaiwan with a rare feature:
A different style of saucer that I wish we still saw today.

Unfortunately, I've already forgotten how old these antique cups are. There was so much to see it was a little overwhelming. Maybe Kingston can leave a note about them in the comments section. They're beautiful and perfectly intact.

A complete western style tea set with two different types of cups for export made with Yixing clay in a retro colored glaze.

Kingston has shelves and shelves of teapots. We made plans for a future get together to better document each of his teapots. He has a diverse selection, from the very simple to the richly detailed:
I expected the lotus seeds on top to move independently from the rest of the lid but I was surprised that the eyes of the frog were also separate moving pieces.

I could barely pay attention to the tea Kingston was serving. There was so much to distract me.

A pair of yellow (duan-ni) XuiPing teapots. It may be difficult to tell from the photos but the foreground teapot is a darker shade with a glossier sheen from years of use by Kingston. He left the other pristine to show the difference. More remarkable was how much smoother the skin of the used pot felt from it's untouched twin. That's something else we don't hear too much about. Many people know that teapots darken and develop a rich patina with use. But the texture can also be altered. A pot with a sandy textured surface like these duan-ni pots can feel smoother after some years of use.

This was just the first hour of my visit. Kingston laughed at my excitement over his collection. "This is nothing", he said, " I haven't even shown you the old stuff."

to be continued...


Michael Vincent said...

Uh oh... you just doomed poor Kingston to lots of hounding from us NYC tea/Yixing fiends! Thanks for the behind the scenes tour Yumcha.

I love that crazy frog and insect pot Kingston- normally that is not at all my style, but it's a really fun, beautifully made pot! Nice collection.

yumcha said...

Hi Michael,
You're going to have a great time when you visit him. I'm going to try to be there on the 6th as well.
Wait till you see what else he's got!