What is Shi Piao Yixing Teapot?


The Shi Piao teapot is a classic style among Yixing purple clay teapots. Over time, it has undergone various improvements and has been further divided into sub-styles such as the Ziye Shi Piao, Jingzhou Shi Piao, Honghua Shi Piao, and Hantang Shi Piao. Despite these variations, they all trace their origins back to a common source.

Shi Piao Teapot

Historical Story

The Shi Piao teapot has an interesting history. In its early stages, it was called the Shi Diao, with “shi” meaning stone and “diao” referring to a small cooking utensil with a handle and a spout. The term “diao” originally referred to a metallic vessel but later evolved into a ceramic vessel. The earliest mention of the Shi Diao can be found in a poem titled “Shi Yuan Jian Cha” by Su Shi, a prominent scholar-official of the Northern Song dynasty. In the poem, he wrote, “Learn from the Gong family to make esteemed tea, with brick stoves and stone diao accompanying each other.” It is believed that Su Dongpo changed the metallic “diao” to a stone “diao” to align with the tea culture of that time.

Gold Diao
Gold Diao – Tang Dynasty

During his exile in Yixing’s Shushan, Su Dongpo discovered that purple clay pots made in the local area produced better-tasting tea compared to copper or iron vessels. Inspired by this, he used the local resources to create a ceramic “diao” that had both a spout for pouring and a handle for lifting. This “diao” came to be known as the “Dongpo Tilian” teapot, which can be considered an early form of the purple clay “stone diao” teapot. Over time, the design of the Shi Diao teapot underwent significant changes, particularly during the periods of Chen Mansheng and Yang Pengnian, becoming more refined and artistic, catering to the tastes of literati.

Design Of Shi Piao Teapot

The body of the teapot has a trapezoidal shape with soft and smooth curves, giving it a robust and rustic appearance.
The triangular feet provide a delicate yet stable support, creating a sense of gracefulness and solidity.
The body design forms a surface that is both curved and straight, showcasing a simple and elegant demeanor from the main viewing angle.
The straight spout is characterized by its clean and concise lines, often seamlessly integrated with the overall body of the teapot.
The handle is typically in an inverted triangular shape, complementing the form of the teapot body and creating a harmonious aesthetic effect.
The lid sits flat on top with a bridge-shaped knob, exhibiting a clean and precise design with well-proportioned dimensions, emphasizing the importance of exquisite craftsmanship.

The key to the Shi Piao teapot’s design lies in its sense of strength. To achieve this, it is essential to coordinate the proportions of the triangular lines formed by the various components of the teapot, including the body, spout, handle, and knob. They must harmonize with each other to create the optimal proportions that ultimately highlight its unique strength and elegance.

Tea Suitable For Shi Piao

The Shi Piao teapot is suitable for brewing any type of tea.
Based on the design of the teapot’s lid, a wide-mouthed Shi Piao teapot is ideal for brewing green tea, floral tea, yellow tea, white tea, and other teas that should not be steeped for an extended period.
On the other hand, a narrow-mouthed Shi Piao teapot is suitable for brewing black tea, red tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea, and other teas that benefit from longer steeping times. The narrow opening allows for the full release of the tea’s flavors and substances.

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