Mr. Wu (Chaozhou Teapot Making)

Tea Masters (1)Mr. Wu is an expert teapot maker from Xianna’s hometown region of Chaoshan. He is a 6th-generation clay teapot artist, and his Great Great Great Great Grandfather was a famous teapot maker back in the Qing Dynasty, circa 1840s! His entire family is in the teapot making business, and three generations are actively working the wheel today.

He lives in downtown Chaozhou, in the center of it all, and upon entering his home/studio you can immediately tell he lives for the craft. He’s very welcoming and seemed happy to put on a display of his skills for us to witness. It’s hard to get him away from his wheel, actually!

His home is absolutely filled with professional equipment, and there’s really little else besides teapot making instruments. He works on his wheel all day, whipping out pot after pot. He can make the base shape of a round pot in mere minutes, but adding all the finer details and putting it all together can take hours or even days to complete! The level of complexity determines the time required, and that in turn determines the value of the pot. Some of his finer pots go for thousands!

He learned from his father, who learned from his father, who learned his father, and down the line. And the skill only seems to improve with each new generation!

Yixing pots are the most famous Chinese clay pots by far, but the semi-secret craft of clay pot making is still very much alive in Chaozhou. Only those with local connections or a true passion for Chinese tea culture would even know of Chaozhou teapots, and to have one means you know a thing or two about tea culture!

To have one hand-made by a master you know by name, well that’s a different story all together. Mr. Wu’s skills are only improving with time. He says his style is changing as he gets older, and he hopes to one day match his masterful grandfather in skill. In good-old Chinese tradition, he won’t be considered a full master until he’s put his time in on this earth and earned the title.

We’re happy to be able to help him further his career and family legacy. It will be interesting to see how his art develops through the years, as China and Chaozhou continue to develop and combine modernization with ancient traditions.

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