The Year of the Rabbit.

On Feb 3rd 2011 the Year of the Rabbit starts in the Chinese Zodiac and it is said people born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.

So, if you plan to hand over any gifts on this occasion, you better be quick to get one in time…

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Tea poetry (from neighboring Japan)

on drinking Tea alone and with others

In my own hands I hold a bowl of tea; I see
all of nature represented in its green color. Closing my eyes
I find green mountains and pure water within my own heart.
Silently sitting alone and drinking tea, I feel these become part of me.

Sharing this bowl of tea with others, they, too, become one with it and nature.
That we can find a lasting tranquility in our own selves in the company with each other is the paradox that is the Way of Tea.

Iemoto Zabosai SEN Soshitsu XVI
Grand Master of Tea, Japan

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Dragon Kiln

in How zisha clay teapots are made [part 3] near the end I wrote something like “just needs to dry out for a while and off it goes to the oven” and some of you might have wondered what oven I am speaking of.

Traditionally Yixing pottery has been fired in a kiln, specifically a dragon kiln like the one in these pictures.

Rather impressive structures and it’s easy to see how the name came about….

Nowadays though, none of those traditional kilns are used anymore in Yixing, at least as far as I know. However, the one in these pictures is a protected relic and the Jiangsu Provincial Authorities will probably keep it that way for future generations to gaze at. Practically all contemporary Yixing pottery is fired in modern electric, coal or gas powered kilns.

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