Jianzhan is a traditional Chinese porcelain. It was used as tea ware by the imperial court during the Song Dynasty. It is made using regular firing, so the glaze layer on the rim is relatively thin, while the glaze on the bottom of the cup is thicker. The outer wall often applies half glaze to avoid sticking to the kiln bottom during firing. Due to the flow of glaze at high temperatures, there is a phenomenon of hanging glaze, commonly known as "glaze tears" or "glaze droplets." This is one of the characteristics of Jianzhan.
Jianzhan is produced in Jianyao, which is one of China's famous ancient kilns. There are many ruins located throughout Jianyang City (formerly Ouning County, Jianning Prefecture, now Jianou City). Its products were already famous during the Song Dynasty. Because the Song Dynasty was fond of tea competitions, in addition to providing high-quality tea, the most suitable tea ware for tea competitions was also necessary. In the Song Dynasty, Jianning Prefecture had already produced many tribute teas, such as Jianou Beiyuan Tribute Tea and Wuyishan Imperial Tea. "Jianzhan" was considered the best treasure for tea competitions by both the emperor and the literati. Famous poets and scholars of the Song Dynasty had written praises for it, such as "Rabbit fur and purple Ou are new," "Suddenly startled by the noon cup without fur," "Jian'an porcelain cup with partridge spots," "Pine wind, thunder, rabbit fur, and frost," "Partridge spots on the cup, the word 'Yunying', rabbit fur in the heart, snow like a pond," "Sucking spring dew from the partridge spots," and so on.
Jianzhan is a magical tea ware! Why is that?
Because it can be nurtured, and it can produce colorful light! Just like a hand string can be coiled, and it can produce a patina.
Before and after nurturing.
Before and after nurturing.
Before and after nurturing.
Tea lovers who use Jianzhan to drink tea know that nurturing Jianzhan is a "secondary creation" of Jianzhan.
During the process of using Jianzhan to drink tea, a substance in the tea (saponin) will attach to the crystallization on the glaze surface of Jianzhan, forming a thin film. Under the refraction of light, it presents a colorful rainbow effect.
The longer the time, the larger the area of the thin film, and the entire inner wall of the cup will present a colorful rainbow effect.
What kind of Jianzhan do tea lovers generally like to nurture?.
Tea lovers generally prefer to nurture Jianzhan with a high amount of crystal structures on the glaze surface and a strong crystal texture, such as silver spot oil droplet Jianzhan, silver spot partridge spot Jianzhan, and silver rabbit fur Jianzhan.
Nurturing Jianzhan is actually very simple, just three points:
- Choose a good Jianzhan that is suitable for nurturing.
- Choose tea that is suitable for nurturing Jianzhan.
- Use the correct method to nurture Jianzhan.
How to nurture Jianzhan, for reference!
- For a new Jianzhan, similar to Yixing teapots, it is recommended to first boil the Jianzhan with orange-colored tea such as Wuyi rock tea or ripe Pu-erh. Boil it slowly over low heat for a long time (the longer the better). (There was a customer whose Jianzhan didn't produce rainbow light until he tried boiling it twice in tea water for one hour each time. After drying it off, the rainbow light immediately appeared.) When boiling, many small bubbles will appear on the glaze surface of the Jianzhan, indicating that the Jianzhan is blending in with the tea water, and the pores are releasing gas while absorbing the tea water. This process can also help remove any metallic taste.
- How to use? Simply drink tea with it, pour out the tea when finished, rinse with clean water, invert it, and let it air dry naturally. There is almost no need to wash it.
If someone else uses the Jianzhan and it needs to be disinfected, it is simple. Just continue to use it as if it were new, boil it with tea water, and let it boil slowly over low heat. This will both nurture the Jianzhan and disinfect it.
Some people say that Jianzhan should be brushed with a toothbrush and that there is a complicated Jianzhan nurturing method (I would like to suggest here that hard objects should never be used to brush the Jianzhan, as it is very easy to damage it). However, I have never brushed Jianzhan before. After my friends finish drinking tea, they leave, and then I heat up the stove to nurture the Jianzhan.
- The process of Jianzhan nurturing changes: Jianzhan nurturing has a transition period, starting with a golden color, then transitioning to a colorful rainbow. The first characteristic of a Jianzhan suitable for nurturing is that it will quickly exhibit a golden color, which can appear after an afternoon of drinking tea.
For those who are nurturing Jianzhan for the first time, please don't assume that the golden color that appears after a few days of drinking tea is rust. It is just a transition period.
To nurture Jianzhan, it should be used frequently, cleaned regularly, and nurtured slowly.
"Frequent use": Use Jianzhan to drink tea frequently.
"Frequent cleaning": After finishing the last cup of tea every day, pour out the tea, rinse it with boiling water, and then invert the Jianzhan in a well-ventilated area. Clean it with toothpaste once every three to five days.
"Slow nurturing": Jianzhan should be nurtured slowly, and normal use is sufficient. Do not soak the Jianzhan in tea water to try to quickly develop the rainbow color.
Nurturing Jianzhan is like nurturing the heart and requires patience. With time, a beautiful rainbow will emerge! I would like to remind everyone that anything is accumulated slowly over time, so don't be too anxious and damage your collection.