'Purple sand' teapot
Unglazed brown stoneware
Museum no. 662&A-1903
W.H. Cope Bequest. Formerly in the collection of William Beckford (1760-1844)
This teapot imitates a sheng, a Chinese reed instrument. It was made after the Chinese switched from drinking tea whipped in a bowl to steeped tea, prepared in a pot.
'Purple sand' teapots from Yixing were praised by Chinese scholars and tea connoisseurs. They were also exported to Europe, where potters tried to imitate them.