This is a pumpkin-shaped teapot made of Yixing clay with a very smooth texture. The lid has a finial simulating a stalk, while the handle and the spout are meticulously modelled in the form of a stem. On the body near the handle side there is a moulding of tendrils, in relief form, of leave and flower. On the underside of the base is the potter's signature, "Chen Mingyuan" is inscribed. Also, on the inner side of the cover, there is another seal mark bearing his name, “Mingyuan”. This piece is unlikely to be a piece made by Chen Mingyuan himself, although it bears his seal mark. Chen Mingyuan work was in great demand, espcially by the elites, in Shanghai during the early Republic period. This pumpkin shaped teapot is dated to the early Republic (1911–1949) or minguo period. Circa. early 20th century, 1930s-1940s.
Chen Mingyuan is a famous yixing or zisha master potter who live during Kangxi reign of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). He is said to have live somewhere between the mid-17th to the early 18th century. Chen Mingyuan created zisha pottery (purple clay) or yixing pottery in the forms of objects for scholar's desk, archaistic vessels, tea wares and trompe l'oeil pieces. Chen Mingyuan is recognized as a great master in this field and his teapots were famous all over the world. His tea pots were collected in many history museums such as Washington Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum.Hong Kong Chinese university Museum, Shanghai Museum, Tian Jing Art Museum and the Yixing Pottery Museum. His work is always in great demand.
There is a very well published book on his work by Lai Suk Yee & Terese Tse Bartholomew. The title of the book is Themes and Variations: The Zisha Pottery of Chen Mingyuan. The book is solely dedicated to a single potter and his work. It provides a comprehensive account of his work.
The teapot is in good condition. There is no chip, crack, repair or restoration. It has a smooth worn out feeling and look. Overall, a very smooth feel to the pot, the body, base, spout, handle and cover. The smooth ageing shows a high degree of usage of the teapot. Traces of preserved minute tea leave in the pot.
The measurement of the pumpkin-shaped yixing teapot: Height 8cm, the Width 7cm and the length is 12.1cm.