Thursday, May 10, 2018

Teapot Feng Shui

When buying a teapot I think very few people in the West think about feng shui.  When I look at the blogs and photos online I think Westerners buy a teapot because they like the way it looks or they hope that it will bring out the best in their tea.  Of course, these are very very important considerations when purchasing a teapot. I think a third consideration should be feng shui.  At least, it has always been important for myself. 

It’s true that a teapot should be in the esthetic of the person making tea and should have a feeling of being authentic for them.  It should be selected to bring out a certain quality in the tea.  Never will one pot be the best pot for all tea or all puerh tea or for every individual or every tea setting or for every guest just like one type of storage will not be optimal for every variety of puerh.  So choosing to use a certain pot or purchase a certain teapot should take this into consideration.

“Feng Shui”, in very general terms, is the placement of objects in an environment to impart a certain energy.  Throw out your images and preconceptions about what the term “feng shui” means to you and think about this very simple idea of feng shui.  When it comes to preparing tea, when pertaining to the teapot, these elements of feng shui should be considered…

The energy of the tea space in general.  What spaces do you use to prepare tea?  Is it just in one room or in different rooms and spaces?  At work and at home?  Will you use the teapot in just one of these spaces or move it into others?  What direction is the space? How is the light in the space?  What is the energy in that space like? What is the feeling of the tea area?  Is it a lively, active, or busy room or space- full of Yang?  Is it shared with many people or does it get lots of traffic?  Or is a quiet, relaxing, tranquil space, meditative space- full of Yin?

The energy, choice of implements, and arrangement of the tea setting.  Almost all of the above questions can be asked about the actual microcosmic environment or space of the tea setting.  What is around and on the tea table?  Are the implements arranged on the table in a certain logical order that follows the natural movements of preparing tea and/or serving tea?  Do the implements and teawears harmonize with each other or do they create a clash of energy, styles, feelings?  Does the volume and proportion of the teapot, cups, serving picture make sense or is one too big or two small? Is there deliberate choice behind the tea implements or is it just random?

The teapot shape, form, energy, and colour. After you have answered these questions for both the tea space and tea setting you can ask: How do you wish to influence, change or harness the energy in this space with your teapot or tea setting?  Do you want to increase a certain energy or mood or decrease it? Or harmonize with it? How do you wish to harmonize the Yin and Yang in your tea space?  The teapot is arguably the centre of the tea setting and tea space. So how will it influence this energy?

…If you wish to impart more Yin nature you should consider a darker colored and more neural clay or glaze.  Gray, purple, or dark colored clays are more Yin. The pot many contain phrases written on it that are passive or contemplative. If you want to harness more Yin you may also look for a pot with more feminine form, a rounder form, softer lines, and with a shorter spout.  The pot should look soft, smooth, and relaxing.

…If you wish to impart more Yang nature you should consider a brighter, richer, vibrant colored clay or glaze.  Red, green, blue and colorful clays are more yang.  The pot may contain phrases written on it that mention movement or transition in nature.  If you want to harness more Yang you may also look for a pot with a strong masculine form with stronger lines and more pronounced handle, lid, and spout.  The pot should embody dynamism, activity, and action.

Or a teapot that is a balance of Yin/Yang with both of these elements from Yin and Yang to create a certain balance within the pot itself.  Brown or Yellow clays tend to also do this.

Harmony with the seasonal change.  How does the teapot influence the seasonal energy?  Does you pot harmonize with the season? Or does it balance the extremes of seasonal weather, colors, and scenery/ esthetic (such as using warming colors in winter).

Energy of guests or solitary arrangement.  How does the teapot influence the feeling you are trying to impart to your guests?  Does it harmonize with the energy of your tea gathering?  Or does it attempt to balance the mood?  Perhaps the teapot attempts to cultivate a certain energy that is lacking?  If the teapot is used mainly for solitary tea steeping then maybe it attempts to balance/harmonize one’s own energy?

Balancing practical considerations with Feng Shui.  Of course there are practical implications for choosing a teapot.  Maybe you only have one or two teapots.  Or maybe a certain teapot really brings out a certain quality in your tea but goes against many of the points above.  Or maybe you are transitioning your tea space, tea setting, tea table to a different esthetic…

Or maybe you have just never put too much thought into any of this…

Maybe you will now (or maybe not)?



Curigane said...

I broke my favourite Gaiwan. I know it's not a teapot and I don't think I'm a materialistic person at all but can't help feeling sad about it. After reading your text i realised it is/was a yang gaiwan. Hope i can repair it one day. Interesting text.:)

Matt said...


I really hope you can repair it too. Maybe you can at least display it? ... Yang is really meant to function and move though...