20 years of collecting 300 old teapots of Saigon men

Nguyen Huu Hong Ky in Ho Chi Minh City has a hobby of drinking tea and collecting teapots from China. Ky’s collection of teapots has now reached 300 units, including some that are valued at hundreds of millions of dong by the tea world.

Mr. Nguyen Huu Hong Ky (HCMC) has known the hobby of drinking tea since 2002, but it was not until 5 years later that he studied tea as an art. In 2013, Mr. Ky opened a “tea culture center” with the aim of sharing his knowledge and spreading his passion to many people. Right from those early days, Mr. Ky started to collect zisha teapots, up to now, he has about 300 pots of different shapes and ages.

 The zisha pot is the most popular type of teapot with tea people, made from zisha soil in the Yixing region (China). After going through the process of kneading and shaping, the kettle is fired at high temperature, creating a warm substance like porcelain. The pot is not glazed, to help retain the natural permeability between the tea water and the soil, which is very much appreciated by tea drinkers. Pictured are teapots from the 70s-80s.

 Ky’s collection of teapots is not an antique one, but only precious works. Some of them are lost by the artisans who made them, so they have become rare and sought after in the market. In the world of tea tools, there is a pot of Mr. Ky that is valued at up to 300 million, some other pots may be 50-60 million.

 Anh Ky shared that tea players have a lot of things to collect. Some people like to hoard tea (fermented tea, green tea …), some people like to play tea (the big cup is used to hold the tea poured from the kettle, then divide it evenly into small cups so that the water has an even taste). , tea cups (collected mainly as host cups, cups reserved for the host, not used to invite guests), tea trays (can be made of stone, bamboo, ceramic …) but the most popular is still the teapot. Pictured is a Cung Xuan teapot, made by artisan Ly Thai Pho, who won an award for teapot manufacturing in Jiangsu, China.

 Teapots can generally be divided into 3 types, unglazed terracotta pots, enameled teapots and metal teapots. Regarding unglazed kettles, the most common name is zisha kettle. As with any other type of collectible, the prices of the kettles are often hard to put on a foothold. The numbers can be high or low depending on the model. In the photo is a set of Thuy Binh kettles, which means that they can be balanced even though they are floating on the water.

 For the “tea addict”, the kettle is likened to a soulmate. They only use one type of pot to make different types of tea, avoid sharing. Mr. Ky shared that there are people who love only one type of tea their whole life, so they don’t need too many pots, but there are also people who like variety and won’t be afraid to collect a lot in the house to increase the experience.

 A terracotta pot that has been used for a long time is easy to appear high tea. That’s when the temperature of the boiling water makes the tea essence radiate, seeping into every fiber of the soil to help save all the essence of this drink. If it is an enameled pot, these teapots look quite unsightly, but when they are terracotta pots, it is like a kind of “guarantee” for the level of passion of the tea drinker. Therefore, if a pot has been used for about 10 years, 20 years, the drinker just needs to pour hot water into it, it is enough to wake up the sweet tea flavor.

 To evaluate a good sip of tea, it will depend on many factors, aroma, taste, color, but each person will have a different scale. As an enthusiast of Eastern culture, Mr. Ky appreciates the beauty of tea tools. For Mr. Ky, once using a precious kettle, even if the tea is in the middle, he still finds a special taste in it and considers it a very valuable experience.

Photo: Tran Huan / According to NDH