Author: Su Ying Chun /Photography: Chen Ming Chong
Stepping into Sanshe, one could not but be amazed by the roomful of tea ware that greets the eyes. Shelves are well-stocked with a kaleidoscopic display of teapots, pitchers, lidded, cups, tea cups and utensils of captivating designs, as if inviting praises from each and every visitor. Traditional teaware sitting side by side with shaped teapots are waiting for tea enthusiasts to bring them home for some wonderful brew.
Zeng Jian Xing, who runs Sanshe, reveals that though Sanshe officially started business in 1989, the company had begun designing and developing as well as producing teaware long before that. Initially, they operated in the Yingge area, where the ceramic industry flourished. As Sanshe churned out teaware, Zeng Jian Xing learnt from craftsmen of his father's generation. When he took over the business later, he began pondering about ways in which he could win over more customers. The brand name of "Sanshe" was then formally introduced.
With over two decades of history, Sanshe has always adhered to its self-entrusted mission of promoting Oriental tea art, designing and developing both practical and aesthetic tea ware, expanding product choices, experimenting with all kinds of glaze, colour and shape, so as to bring out the best of tea liquor in terms of colour and nd to incorporate teaware into one's daily life.
Zeng Jian Xing explains that Sanshe has developed hundreds of products so far. They are broadly divided into two categories, namely ornate teaware and utility tea ware. While in general, boldly-modelled teaware tends to be less practical, Sanshe's products are more of an exception. Sanshe places great emphasis on practicality for shaped tea ware, ensuring that the overall performance of the spout, the way teapot lets out the aroma of the tea liquor, and the texture of the handle is not compromised. As a result, users get to enjoy perfect brew while appreciating the innovative designs and shapes. The utility series of teaware finds it's way to the tea appreciation setting of professional tea masters. Zeng recalls, since more than a decade ago, Sanshe has been commited to developing practical teaware, improving the technique and quality along the way. They have been refining the art of teapot making and producing pots that promise better flow, drip-control, pouring and fine touches such as filters. The utility teaware also incorporates many traditional glazes, blue-and-white patterns, colour patterns—all highlighting the versatile look of teaware in a tea appreciation setting.
Zeng Jian Xing points our attention to five types of teaware, namely the "Chinese Horoscope Teapot", the "Taiwanese Buffalo Teaware", the "Taiwanese Red Teaware", the "Pride of Taiwan Teaware" and the "Magic Lamp Teapot”. The "Chinese Horoscope Teapot" was first introduced by Sanshe over a decade ago. The pots are shaped according to the Chinese zodiac animal of the year. The skillfully rendered pots have since captured the heart of many tea aficionados.
The "Taiwanese Buffalo Teaware set" is a series modelled after the water buffalos of Taiwan. Made with Taiwanese clay, the entire series exudes rustic charm and warmth, reminding viewers of Zhu Ming's sculptures and their clean silhouette. Besides the modelling, the ingenious touch of fashioning the handie after the buffalo's horn has the added advantage of keeping the lid in place - another perfect marriage of creativity and practicality, As Zeng Jian Xing puts it, the sheer number of imitations in the market is, in a way, testament to the popularity of this series. Nevertheless, authentic Sanshe's buffalo teapots stand out from the rest thanks to the impeccable production process - from choice of materials to kiln-firing. Meanwhile, Sanshe buffalo teapots come with certificates of authenticity.
Popularity of the Taiwanese Red Flower Cloth has been growing in the international fashion circle in recent years. Sanshe has identified the glaze that expresses the vibrancy of the Red Flower Cloth as a key area to be developed for its teapots. The iconic brightness and redness of die glaze has given instant recognition to the pots' Taiwanese origin. As such, Sanshe has named the series the "Taiwanese Red Teaware". Sanshe is also applying the Taiwanse Red glaze onto other tea ware.
"The Pride of Taiwan Tea" is based on the rheme of baseball. The teapots and teacups are fashioned after baseball bats and red-lined balls. The design has taken into consideration both die shape and the function of the ware, combining the tranquility of tea art and the vitality of a baseball game all in one. The "Magic Lamp Teapot", as its name suggests, assumes the look of a magic lamp. The shape has been one of Sanshe's long-term favourites; and yet, Sanshe has never stopped experimenting with glaze and colour for the series. With this dedication comes a changing appearance in the "magic lamps" over time, lending a somewhat magical touch to its appearance.
Zeng Jian Xing says that Sanshe has taken initiatives to hear from its customers. Their feedback serves as the basis for future improvement in terms of design and functionality. The products highlighted here have demonstrated Sanshe's diversified, innovative, simple and yet practical modern tea sets for everyday use and tea art appreciation.