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