Chinese miniature clay teapots are not just small versions of “regular- sized” teapots; they are made small for a special way of brewing tea.
In Taiwan and the southeastern provinces of China, a popular way of drinking tea is “old man style”, or “kung-fu style”. A small teapot is filled with semi-fermented tea (Oolong, Tieguanyin, etc.) and is steeped for a very short time before being drained completely and served in small cups. The teapot is then refilled with boiling water and re-steeped up to eight times, with each brewing providing a different “flavor” of tea. For this style of tea drinking you must use a small pot that holds only enough tea leaves and water for each steeping. These teapots are part of what has been termed the “Chinese Tea Ceremony”, and other wares such as “tea boats”, “tea platters”, etc. are produced to complete the set.
Miniature tea ware is produced in both Taiwan and the Peoples Republic of China. This style of tea ware has been produced in Yixing, China, since the 13th century. However, because of the resurgence of this style of tea drinking in Taiwan in the last 70 years or so, Taiwanese potters have developed styles of their own with distinct taste and craftsmanship. It is no coincidence that today Taiwan is home to many of the most passionate collectors of Yixing pottery. Many of the people who arrived in Taiwan from mainland China in 1949 came from the same general area of China and brought their high regard for Yixing wares with them.
Due to the free and thriving economy in Taiwan during recent years, tea connoisseurs have demanded ever more daring and unusual designs, and encouraged potters to produce many breathtaking and award-winning examples of tea art. These teapots equal and often exceed the quality of those produced in Yixing.