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Happy Piggy Yixing Tea Pet
Yixing Purple Clay
2.4” L x 2.2” W x 1.7” H (6cm x 5.5cm x 4.3cm)
This Tea Pet is cute and lovely to be a good decoration for your tea ceremony.
A tea pet is a small mascot made of Yixing purple clay, meant to add a little bit of lighthearted fun to a tea session. Tea liquid can be poured directly over the pet or it can be brushed onto it, with this particular pet taking on a glossy finish and richer color over time due to its material: the picture below of the two pets shows this difference, with the one on the left new and fresh and the one on the right having been seasoned for half of a year.
The happy pig on the right has been seasoning since 2012, and compared with the new one on the left, is darker with a richer appearance. The one on the left also appears rougher, with grains more easily visible on the surface.
Raise your tea pet
There is an old Chinese saying, that “soft fire makes sweet malt”. This also holds for seasoning tea pets: they can be “raised” by keeping them on your tea try and pouring tea over them, to nourish the pets. Their cute appearance and maturation in color and texture over time often results in them being a permanent part of a gongfu set.
1. Just about any liquid from the session can be used: the water used for originally warming the cups, the liquid from the first rinse of the leaves, or the leftover tea from each steep.
2. Evenly wipe or pour the liquid over the tea pet. Uneven spreading will result in a dappled appearance. Once dry, you can freely touch the pet however you like.
3. Using a brush or cloth, softly wipe the liquid into the surface of the tea pet.
4. If the pet is stained with dirt or anything else, salt can be used to clean it off first.