Archive for Yixing Pots

Oct
30

Glock 19

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Today was a special day for me.  Over the past several months I have been getting back into hand gunning especially with the old .45 ACP cartridge.  The Kimber Elite in .45 has been in the safe now for about 10 years and at least 5 without a shot fired through it.  Well, that changed 2 months ago and I picked up a Sig Sauer P220 in the same carterage just to have a .45 handy at home…..just in case.  The reason I decided to go with the Sig was the DA/SA format of the pistol.  At the time I considered it a safer option than having the 1911 cocked and locked on the dresser.  I still feel that way.  Today I finished up 1150 rounds through the Sig P220 and know it is an extremely reliable and solid plateform.  Double tap with it is deadly at 21 feet.  So for now I keep it as the primary home defense weapon without reservation.

The reason I am writing today after a long hiatus is due to the Glock 19 in 9 mm cartridge that I picked up last week from Bain and Davis here locally and fired the weapon for the first time this morning at the Firing Line Indoor Shooting Range in Burbank.  Wow!!!  All I can say is accurate accurate accurate and SWEET shooter.  Three out of the first 5 shots were just about in the same hole at 21 feet.  Two in the bullseye and one in the 10 ring I might add.  I have to thank my pal Hickok45 of YouTube fame for turning me on to the Glock.  I have always been a steel and wood friend but the polymer works extremely well.  The Glocks reliability is legendary and I can attest to its accuracy today…. is it is far better than I.

One final note on todays shooting.  I had a coaching session with my new friend Dave Doermann who is a certified NRA pistol instructor.  A couple of points here that he gave me are worth passing along.  In gaining acuracy and reliablility with any hand gun practice with a qualified instructor is advised.  Don’t do this at home folks.  So here are Dave’s recommendations for gaining proficiency with any handgun.  My recommendation is to do this with an instructor that can help point out where you could improve and BE SAFE.

1) Natural point of Aim

2) Grip Control

3) Sight Picture Control

4) Breath Control

5) Follow Through

OK, I will plan on going over each of these points in detain in the coming posts.  The results on the paper will testify as to whether or not you are able to put it all together and do all of these things consistently.  That is my goal and I will keep updating my progress.

Categories : Yixing Pots
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Oct
13

The Collector

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The Collector is the title of today’s post.  I have a penchant for collecting and never really advanced past Erik H. Erikson’s “Age of Collection” which for the child development specialist among you is about age 10 to 12 hmmm maybe younger like age 6 to 8!  Remember the younger days when Marbles and balls of string held such fascination.  I had a huge collection of baseball cards that filled two shoe boxes that today would be drooled over by the avid “Collector” of such things.

Today, the Collecting urge still raises its head and my shelves are filled with old telegraph keys, books and tea wear, notably Yixing clay pots.  If you have followed along with me there have been previous posts on these little wonders of the craftsman that hold wonderful utility in the making of tea.  Recently I have expanded my collecting of tea things to include Gaiwan’s which are porcelain cups designed perfectly for the brewing of tea.

My passion for collecting the little Yixing clay pots is driving the rest of the family a little nuts.  You can always tell when collecting goes far when the family comments on it with statements like, “Oh no not another one of those things.  Don’t you have enough of them already?”  This is the delema of a “collector”.  When is too much enough?  In my mind there is always another rarer more collectable out there and the search is on!

But today’s post is not about me.  I met today one of the most remarkable men in Shanghai.  Luo Ming is a business man and manufacturer of fine Red Wood furniture with a factory in the Fujian Provence.  Mr. Luo is not just a collector but an avid collector of all things Chinese Art.  His interests include the Yixing Clay and Giawans from the Ming and Song dynaties including all kinds of carved wood and sculpted works and pottery.  His home in one of the most presigious areas of Shanghai was literally filled with antiques from the Ming and Song Dynasties.  His home was simply amazing!  I have included a few of the pictures of the wonderful home which was more like a fabulous museum for me.  Mr. Luo was a childhood friend of my wife’s “Baba” and served us wonderful Fujian oolong tea from one of his Yixing pots.  I was staggered by his collection which he began when he was a small school boy.

Visiting Mr. Luo’s home and meeting his lovely wife and family, looking over his artwork briefly, is one of the highlights of my visit to China this year.

You can see pictures of the artwork that I was privaledged to view at flickr.  This is only a very small sample of the collection.

Categories : China, Tea, Yixing Pots
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Oct
25

YiXing Visit

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The clay tea pot center of the world is a hundred miles plus north west of Shanghai in the small town of Yixing. The history of Yixing clay pots is reported to date back to the Ming dynasty when the special qualities of the clay found here were first appreciated. Archeologists have found pottery shards in the area of Yixing from as far back as the Neolithic age – thats about 5000 years ago. The mining of Yixing clay and the tradition of pottery making in this region is a very old one and rooted in the history of China. Most scholars attribute the founding of the Yixing tea ware to monks during the Song Dynasty (960 A.D – 1368 A.D.) while the art of Yixing pottery (tea pots) reached its peak during the Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D. – 1911 A.D.).

Over the centuries the technology of tea pot creation has changed very little but each generation of potters has built on tradition of those who have gone before. Currently the artistry of tea pot creation has evolved, become richer and more varied leaving the traditional forms which I love the best. At this time of individualizm in China the emphasis in clay pot creation is less technological and more artistic. The Yixing clay artists of today strive to capture a mood, idea or story in the simple lines of the Yixing tea ware. Of course there are production pots but my interest is with the Master artist level creations.

Today was a wonderful day and my first visit to this artist haven in Yixing. The full story will follow after a bit of research. I would not be guilty of passing out false information….hahahahah.

Our neighbor Zhou Zong Qi here in Shanghai has been an art collector and antique affectionado for many years. One of his passions has been the special Yixing Master level clay pots. As will be discovered there are many levels of clay pot production from consumer goods to grand Master works of extreme value. Just imagine a David Hockney original in your posession. Stirs the imagination doesn’t it a bit. The fortunate thing was that Mr. Zhou aggreed to accompany us in our quest of Yixing clay tea pots and took us to the Master artist Pan Jun’s studio in Yixing for a look see. Mr. Pan is a mid-level Master who has studied under his father and both of his in-laws – all considered high level Masters – not the highest but after 50 years are well known and their chops are respected. What we found was an impressive display of art work at prices that were manageable – high but manageable. I was able to purchase two wonderful pots while I lusted after several others as well from the Baba Master (Pan Jun’s father). Next year Jennifer says I can get a couple more. In fact our Master artist host Mr. Pan invited me to stay with him and his family for a couple of weeks to learn the basics of Yixing clay pot construction. What a gift that is. Next year when we return to Shanghai I will take a side trip to Yixing and spend a week or so with him and get up to my elbows in clay.

There are many links on the web that describe the special qualities of Yixing clay and report the history of these wonderful little pots. After collecting them haphazardly for the past 5 years now I am hooked on the higher level of these art pieces. Here are some of the links that I have found:
Holy Mountain

Sesational Tea

Yixing Blog

Another Yixing Blog

A couple more pictures from flickr are here.

Categories : China, Yixing Pots
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