1 (edited by william 2008-11-21 22:30:47)

Topic: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

Some old export pots have numbers on the bottom, like the "H441786" ones:
http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/h4417_1.jpg  http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/h4417_2.jpg

Doing a google search on H441786 (or on 祥興茶行) brings up some information - could any of our Chinese-speaking members post / translate some more information about these pots (time period of production, significance of the numbers, etc.). I've been fascinated by them for a while. My understanding is that they were produced by Factory #1 for export (to HK, for example) in the 70s-80s, or maybe even 60s-80s.

There are also the famous ones with black writing over the seal (or next to it) and on the pot itself, advertising the tea of this defunct HK tea firm (more information on them, and information about whether they're the same as http://www.chtea.com.tw/, who apparently got their start in HK, would also be very interesting to me).

http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/xiang1.jpg  http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/xiang2.jpg

This guy seems to post some great information about them (also the source of some of these images):
http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/kunson-home/ … 8&sc=1
http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/kunson-home/ … &fid=7

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

Here is a translation of the best info I could find on these pots. I will look again later, but I had to bang out this translation quickly because I probably won't have time to translate until this time next week. Sorry for the bad translation quality. This information was found on a forum at
http://bbs.classicpuer.com.cn/showtopic … amp;page=4
its about halfway down the page. This guy's post is interesting because the pots described are exactly like the ones you have pictured. His pictures are the same, except the seal on the bottom is not like the one he describes, it is rather the company name of a xiamen agricultural import export company. (the name is very similar to the company responsible for the red mark pu'er teas, but not the same one I don't think)

Picture of the seal from his post
http://bbs.classicpuer.com.cn/upload/forum/200804/20080417181525I.jpg
Hong Kong Xiang Xing Tea Company
The practice of tea companies custom ordering pots prevailed around the years 1978-1985. Custom ordering pots was most common amongst Hong Kong tea companies. The earliest occurrence of a tea company custom ordering pots with an inscription occurred before and after 1960 by a Malaysian company Gao Quan Fa Tea Company. Hong Kong tea companies ordered quite a lot of standard pots. The earliest were Zisha pigeon beak level pots (gezui shuipinghu) with an indented seal on the bottom of the pot “H441786” stamped with a lead stamp. These pots appeared during the years 1974-1976, there is no information available on the company who ordered them.
       The most famous of all custom made pots was the Xiang Xing Tea Company’s line of standard pots (biaozhun hu.) The most common example is the pot inscribed with the words “Please enjoy Chinese oolong tea” inscribed on it from the line of biaozhun pots that pot connoisseurs are always talking about. The most common clays are hongtu (I assume this is hongni, please correct me if I’m wrong, I will check this out later) and inside zisha-outside hongtu. The shapes are mostly biaozhun标准, xianpiao线瓢,xishi西施, gaotangpo高汤婆 and heipingguo黑苹果. The body of the pot is inscribed with the words “Hong Kong Xiang Xing Tea Company 74 West Ave.” in black enamel. On the other side inscribed with “[we sell] all the famous names. Chenghu TGY, Mantuo Xisanyin SX, Real Jade Guanyin (城虎铁观音幔陀西三印水仙真正玉观音.)
       Throughout the years these pots were in production there were many different lots. The first lot of Xiang Xing Tea Company pots were ordered in about ’78 or ’79. The biaozhun pots came in 4, 6 and 8 cup sizes. Xianpiao and xishi only came in 4 and 6 cup sizes. Hontu and zisha were the most common common clays. A small nuumber of heipingguo pots were made from heitiesha (黑铁砂 black iron sand.) Because in the early period the enamel technique had not been perfected, the coarser characters are earlier than the thinner, more delicate ones. The enamel characters on the earliest pots have some defects. There is no name stamped on the cover, the seal on the bottom is always “Yixing, China” with a clack enamel inscription reading “Xiang Xing Tea Company.” Inside zisha-outside hongtu Xiang Xing pots are later. Pots produced around 1980-83 in the shapes biaozhun, zisha xianpiao and xishi only came in 8 cup size. Inside zisha-outside hongtu came in gaotangpo and pingguo shape. They were stamped with a seal indicating the year of production using the heavenly stems and earthly branches sexegenary dating system: “made in kuihai year” “made in jiazi year” or “made by Jingxi Xuanmengchen” (荆溪惠孟臣制.) A few inside zisha-outside hongtu chahai and other tea ware with a black enamel “Xiang Xing Tea Company” inscription sold out quite quickly. A small number of Xiang Xing Tea Company biaozhun pots and heipingguo pots were produced by the number 2 factory. The clay and throwing technique was noticeably different from the pots produced by the number 1 factory.

original text
香港 祥興茶行
茶行訂製標準壺約莫盛行於1978-1985年,其中以香港茶行訂製壺品較多,但最早的茶行訂製標準壺並於壺身落款者,應屬 1960年前後的馬來西亞「高泉發茶行」。香港茶行訂製標準壺壺品頗多,最早乃採「隱性」落法,底款落「H441786」鉛章的紫砂鴿嘴水平,其成型年代為1974-1976年,訂製茶行已不可考。最有名的茶行訂製壺,莫過於祥興茶行一系列標準壺,亦如請飲中國烏龍茶般,為標準壺系中壺友們較為朗朗上口者。胎土有紅土、紫砂及內紫外紅,其形制有一般標準壺體、線瓢、西施、高湯婆及黑蘋果。壺體上黑釉款一面為「香港 祥興茶行大道西七十四號」,另一面為「馳名 通城虎鐵觀音 幔陀西三印水仙真正玉觀音」,其生產的前後年代有好幾批。首批祥興茶行成型約莫為1978-79年訂制,標準壺體有4、6、8杯,線瓢、西施只有4、6杯,胎土以紅土及紫砂為主,少數黑蘋果為黑鐵砂,因初期上釉技術較差,黑釉字體粗者較細體為早,首批壺體上黑釉字體多少有些缺陷,蓋內已無人名款,底款必為「中國宜興」印款及「祥興茶行」黑釉款。內紫外紅「祥興」略晚,約成型於1980-1983年前後,標準壺、紫砂線瓢、西施只有8杯,內紫外紅有高湯婆及蘋果體,其配合當時天干地支分別落紀元款「葵亥年製」、「甲子年製」或「荊溪惠孟臣製」,少數銷日內紫外紅茶海及茶器亦有「祥興茶行」黑釉款。部份同期的祥興茶行標準壺(黑蘋果)為二廠製作,其胎土、工序與一廠略有差異。

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

3 (edited by william 2008-11-20 18:33:23)

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

Yeah - the 'qing yin zhong guo wu long cha' pots are also very famous, and were produced as souvenirs for the Fujian tea corp (as you mention), AFAIK, not for Xiang Xing Tea Company, at least not directly, but I could be wrong. I was meaning to start a separate thread for these later. Those exist in both 22 character seal, 6 character seal, and 4 character seal version (the latter both the standard Factory #1 seals), but never have the black enamel writing. I have another example of a pot produced for this purpose (but with a slightly different inscription) which I've posted to teachat before:

http://veggiechinese.net/tp2_/new1.jpg

Ba le (芭乐) shape, 4 character seal. The pot feels very light (almost too light) in my hand. Photo is from the vendor; I can try to post a "now" picture, with the pot a bit more seasoned, if I get a chance. The same vendor also had this one, which I'm still kicking myself for not getting:

http://veggiechinese.net/tp2_/otherpot.jpg

I believe hongtu does indeed refer to hongni.

Also, for those who don't understand "biāo zhǔn" (標準; lit. "standard") to refer to the pots often referred to as shuǐ píng (水平). Guang has posted his own thoughts about this at: http://houdeblog.com/?p=11 -- basically:

Sometimes people confuse the word "Shui Pin" and "Biao Zhun" teapots. Simply speaking, Shui Pin is a concept. But it later become widely used to refer to a family of yixings that No. 1 factory started to produce since 60's: the "Biao Zhun" teapots.

Biao Zhun: the original meaning is Standard. Yes, these were "standardized" teapots that No. 1 factory produced in great quantity. It was inspired by the shui pin teapots in Early R.O.C. (pic source: No. 2, Hu Yi magazine of Wu-Shin Publ. Co.)
[....snip]
Later the Biao Zhun family were joined with five unique members (Wu-Shin teapots): Bai Le, Xi Shi, Bian Deng, Rou Bian, and Tai Jian. Some of them are quite familiar to us: Bai Le and Xi Shi. Some are rare to see nowadays, especially Rou Bian and Tai Jian.

Thanks so much for the quick research / translation!

Amusing aside... marshaln told me that sometimes fake versions of the pots have typos on them. I don't read well enough to notice, but there are definitely a lot of fakes floating around of all of these styles of pots.

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

On the Hongtu

http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/yata-art/art … p;next=779

Above is a great article about Yixing clay over period by Taiwainese experienced blogger, I don't quite understand the traditional Chinese yet,

But from my understanding, Hongtu is from Huang Long Shan that it makes a difference from Xiao Hongni (it's from Zhao Zhuang Shan I believe)

IMO Hongtu is 'Da 大 Hongni' (Hongni has Da Hongni and Xiao Hongni), that is bigger as particle, has more grits and appeared more reddish (as opposed to orange-ish).

Correct me if I'm wrong

一杯一杯復一杯

5 (edited by william 2008-11-20 22:50:02)

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

chrl42 wrote:

Above is a great article about Yixing clay over period by Taiwainese experienced blogger, I don't quite understand the traditional Chinese yet,

You should be able to use Google translator (or a similar service) to convert... of course using it to go from Chinese to English results in nonsense, but since it's easy to convert from traditional to simplified (or vice-versa), you should be able to perfectly translate between the two.
For example:
http://translate.google.com/translate?u … p;tl=zh-CN

btw, do both "下红泥" and "小红泥", or is 下 just a misunderstanding of 小?I have seen both used, though the second is more common.

Would love to see another thread with some collected information on the different types of hong ni. (hint hint)

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

It's 小.

Xiao Hongni is high-quality Hongni that has very smooth texture and no grit. Was favored by factory no.1

Da Hongni is mined from Zini ore bed, Huang Long mt. So it's basically Zini type, with porous nature.

And there is Zhuni, whose original ore is more yellow(more yellow turns more red after firing) than Xiao Hongni and shows more shrinkage.

My understanding is Xiao Hongni is mined from Zhao Zhuang mountain, less purified red clay than Zhuni.


Different characteritics over using, from I heard.

Xiao Hongni becomes glossy as time goes by (none-glossy at first)

Zhuni becomes redder and glossier as well.

Da Hongni turns darker like Zini(oxidation?)

Zhuni also has many types (Huang Long, Zhao Zhuang, Xiao Mei Yao, Hu Fu etc..)
I might start another thread sometime later, it's my favorite subject anyway.

一杯一杯復一杯

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

Today I bought xiang xing cha hang Biao Zhun, Hongni 6-cup, green egg sticker (77~82)

Lots of dust piled on and had a spider web in it, so adorable I'm loving it already :)


Oh BTW Shui Ping, its original meaning is it stands upright on the surface of water but nowadays I recognize it'd rather refer to pots that had horizental spouts, for example Ba Le took its motive from Pan Hu, with a spout changed to be Shui Ping

Lots of Qing Zhuni Gongfu pots had that design, with Shui Ping letter written inside lid, I think Shui Ping - Zhuni - Gongfu - Oolong has lots in common. Lots of southern Fujian & Guangdong people drank in that fashion, then lately, factory-1 came with 'Qing Yin Zhong Guo Wu Long' Shui Ping, made'em small, these pots are roaming around at Chinese tea shops.

一杯一杯復一杯

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

As I understand it, shui ping has two meanings... one is that the top of the handle / tip of the spout / opening for the lid all line up across one plane. I'm not sure if it's required that the entire top of the spout be on the same plane or not. The other is that (as I understand it) '水平' also refers to a standard against which other things are measured (outside the realm of teapots).
http://www.nciku.com/search/zh/detail/% … B3/1314271
Of course, biaozhun also means standard, but I think it means standard more in the sense of "normal" than in the sense of a standard against which other things are compared.
http://www.nciku.com/search/zh/detail/% … 86/1300926

In common usage, though, I have mostly seen people use shui ping to refer that particular shape of pot.

Guang has his take on it here:
http://houdeblog.com/?p=11

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

ps - Let's stop discussing this and see a picture of your new pot instead....

10 (edited by chrl42 2009-08-22 07:25:18)

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

Ah..I don't have a digital camera and my camera phone broke :(

It's nothing special anyway, has the same letter as 2nd pot of your first post but mine has smaller button and a bit flatten lid,

I think it's well-made for that period, I might post a pic of it as soon as I get a device..



Argh..I don't like the clay of this pot that much..not soft and brewed cup didn't turn any finer.

I think I read somewhere that exported goods were made of so-so clay but crafted carefully..

Would it be the reason? and don't believe me on this so much :(

一杯一杯復一杯

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

New pot from Hou De; sold as 90s hong ni, though Guang says that's conservative and could be 80s.

Wondering if anyone knows how late they were producing later versions of this pot... were there any made during the 90s? Anyone see anything obviously wrong about the chop, text, etc.? Any ideas on whether the 6 under the lid means it's a 6 cup pot (haven't measured yet, but I think it's about 120 or 130 ml) or whether it's the number of the potter who made it? And should I try to steam off / save the "Made in China" sticker, or just clean it off with hot water?

[click for larger version]
http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/TN_xiangxing_front1.jpg
http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/TN_xiangxing_front2.jpg
http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/TN_xiangxing_chop1.jpg
http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/TN_xiangxing_chop2.jpg

I took the photos at night with my usual lighting setup; I played with the parameters a little to try and brighten a couple, but should be more or less natural colors -- maybe a little redder than in real life. I'll try to take some photos in daylight one of these days.

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

william wrote:

New pot fr .

That pot obviously looks very similar to mine (I abandoned it for a while, but recently I decided to use for TGY)

Fashion of the pot obviously follows very closely to Factory-1, a shape, little lid's 'teeth' (very common on export-pot), horizental lines (typical Factory-1 half hand-made)

Problem is clay...it doesn't look like any Factory-1 Hongni I've seen before,

My guess is it contains iron oxide powder, to Lao Hongni (if lucky)

Maybe on future I might graps a little more ideas..

一杯一杯復一杯

Re: Information on old export yixing, 祥興茶行 - xiáng xīng chá háng pots

chrl42 wrote:
william wrote:

New pot fr .

That pot obviously looks very similar to mine (I abandoned it for a while, but recently I decided to use for TGY)

Fashion of the pot obviously follows very closely to Factory-1, a shape, little lid's 'teeth' (very common on export-pot), horizental lines (typical Factory-1 half hand-made)

Problem is clay...it doesn't look like any Factory-1 Hongni I've seen before,

My guess is it contains iron oxide powder, to Lao Hongni (if lucky)

Maybe on future I might graps a little more ideas..

It's mid-90's~early 2000's imitation..

一杯一杯復一杯