Zhu Xinnan - Yixing Tea Pot Master

An introduction to Yixing tea pot master Zhu Xinnan.

yixingMy tea partner HQ has been dealing with Yixing tea pot for quite a few years now and has done very well by it. He takes frequent trip to Yixing and cultivates special relationship with the various artists there.

As far as I can tell, sourcing Yixing tea pot is a fairly straightforward affair.

Of course, you need to have an appreciation of the tea pot. But more important, unlike tea leaves, the market is fairly transparent, especially if you are dealing at the top end of the market (which we do).

You see, although there are ten of thousands of potters in Yixing, only a few hundreds can be regarded as masters with official titles.

Mr Zhu Xinnan (朱新南), born in 1957 in Yixing from a long line of potters, is one of these elites. In Yixing, he is well-known for being an extremely skilled potter and a wealthy man with a large inventory of rare, seasoned Yixing clay.

More Senior Title = Higher Price

When we first ordered 100 tea pots from him in 2009, he had two titles: One is a National Level Assistant Craft Master (国家级助理工艺美术师). The other is Craft and Art Master (工艺美术师).

Writing this article in 2015, he has already now been promoted from Assistant Craft Master to Craft Master (国家级工艺美术师), which has resulted in the doubling up of the costs of his tea pot since 2009. This is already the third most senior title in the Yixing world.

It is quite possible he could be promoted to Senior Craft Master in 2016 and beyond (国家级高级工艺美术师), which would result in further appreciation of his tea pot.

The highest possible title is Institute Craft Master (研究院工艺美术师), of which there are only a handful.

HQ is an avid seller of one such potter - Shen Jianqiang (沈建强)). His pot routinely costs upwards of $4,000.

Brief Biography

Zhu Xinnan graduated from the Jiangsu Industrial School in 1980, before taking up apprentice in Yixing Pottery Factory to learn creative design.

He enrolled in Central Institute of Art and Craft from 1992 to 1994. Three years later in 1997, he was awarded "China Outstanding Young Potter".

He went on to specialize in Yixing designs for the last 20 years. In China, he is highly regarded for his non-decorative, classical designs.

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