can someone tell me something about this old chinese teapot?

I believe my great-aunt, who was a missionary in China in the 20’s, brought this teapot back with her. It is clay with metal decorations. There is a coin with both Chinese and English writing embedded in the lid. It has obviously been used – there is a metal strainer set into the spout that is rusted.

Here is a link to it in my flickr account:[email protected]/4872318065/

What do you all think?


6 Replies

It is beautiful and I sure if it could talk it would have some amazing stories to tell. Good luck on finding more historical information on it.

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Harfatum said

My gf says the top mentions some lake, and the bottom says “furniture”. Maybe from a furniture store by a lake…?

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Alaina said

My Mandarin isn’t the best, but if the writing goes in the direction I think it does, it says, “是家具湖五以外”, which translates to something that doesn’t make sense. “It’s furniture lake five outside of”, maybe supposed to be “From a furniture store outside of Five Lake.”

It’s a mystery to me!

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Brian said

That… a beautiful teapot 0.o

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That’s a very interesting looking pot!
The characters are just as Alaina recognized, but in a different sequence. Sometimes on decorations they arrange the characters in unusual patterns. The reading is from right to left 五湖以外具是家

Chinese people use “five lakes” or “four oceans” to mean “the whole world”. So this sentence means, my home is everywhere, in and out of this world. It’s very cool and fits your aunt’s lifestyle very well! I wonder if it was custom made for your aunt. Back then custom made items were more common than mass market items.

The metal decoration also seems from the traditional repairing technique for ceramic teapot. The traditional repairing can be as expensive as, if not more expensive than, the pot itself. It’s possible that the teapot was once broken at the spout and along the brass nail line across the body of the teapot, and then was repaired. Or it’s possible the brass pieces are just decorations to mimic the repairing and give the teapot some wabi sabi look.

It’s a very cool teapot!

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Wow, that is a really cool teapot and story.
Thanks for translating Gingko; I agree, a very appropriate phrase for her life!
How long was your great aunt in China?

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