Monday, January 19, 2009

The Ninth Eccentric of Yangzhou

Walk from Yixing number one factory past the gate of the number two factory, and then cross the street. The studio of the 'Ninth Eccentric of Yangzhou' is two small rooms slightly below the level of the street. There is an eccentric mix of not so old antiques, and dusty paintings hung so close together that the edges are frayed. Two bird cages hang near the door, from the bottom of one of these hangs a tiny fighting cricket cage with the dried carpace of a formerly large cricket.

The "Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou" were eight scholars and artists from Yangzhou, Jiangsu province. The Ninth Eccentric is certainly an artist. The casual observer recognizes this fact immediately as he wears two scarves, a velveteen suit jacket, long hair and a goatee.

This artist's paintings were not very appealing to me in terms of style, but his Yixing carving was some of the best I have seen in Yixing. I selected a tea canister and a small tray which I use for gongfucha. It is not my intention to come across overly sarcastic in my description. The workshop was cold, the paintings not to my liking, and the artist himself likable and strange at the same time. There was an overabundance of Mao era memorabilia and "antiques" of this kind. At the same time he reminds me of the old books describing Yangxian (Yixing) pots. They werethe product of a co-operation of potters and scholars who would carve a line on the pots, or design their ideal tea pot and press their chop underneath it. This 9th Eccentric of Yangzhou truly creates some beautiful Yixing artwork


Brett said...


Thanks for another cool post.

Could you give me the Chinese for Yangxian? Is that just an old place name for Yixing, or does it refer to a type of pot?


LaoChaGui said...

Yangxian is just an old name for Yixing. You can find it in the titles to old books about Yixing pots, for example: 阳羡名陶录.


Terence said...


What is the volume of the clay tea jar, and what will you be storing in it? How were the prices for tea pots in the old #1 factory compound, a price range?

Happy new year

LaoChaGui said...

Happy Year of the Cow, Terence!

My little tea container holds about 100g of Large leaf Wuyi tea. It is probably about a pint, maybe closer to a quart and would hold more weight of rolled oolong for example.

I am keeping the last of my Gu Shu Cha in it at the moment, I put a plastic bag inside of it because its unglazed.

Pots in #1 factory. That's a hard question. the most expesive pot I saw was 5.6 million RMB (for a pair) that was in one of the gift shops. It was actually the original copy of the panda pots they have in Jingteashop.

The shops within the factory aare expensive because rent is expensive, but many normal aritst have rooms there, if you get to know them you can go to their studios, and some pots may be quite reasonable. I didn't walk into anyone's studio uninvited because it seemed weird. But maybe it's quite normal.

chrl42 said...

Eight Eccentric of Yangzhou, Yang Zhou Ba Guai, were the painters from mid-Qing that were 汪士愼,黃愼,金農,高翔,李鱓,李方膺,羅聘 and my favorite, 鄭燮 Zheng Xie. Created Yang Zhou painting style outseen by maintstream.

Here's some of my favorite works of him

LaoChaGui said...

Thanks for the links, Charlie. I especially like the painting with the calligraphy in the spaces between the stalks of bamboo.