CAO YALIN (b. 1955), CHINA
The teapot is carved with a chicken to either side of the body and the cover is surmounted with a finial in the form of a boy's head. The interior of the cover is impressed with two seals, one reading Cao and the base is impressed with a Cao Yalin zhi seal mark. The four cups are each incised with a cursive two-character auspicious inscription, with tian fu tao yi impressed marks to the base. The interiors of the cups are covered with white slip.
The teapot, 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm.) wide
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Lot Essay

The contemporary ceramic artist Cao Yalin is known for his masterpieces of Yixing zisha pottery, as demonstrated by the current tea set. He is a native of Yixing in Jiangsu province, an area famous for its pottery made from zisha or 'purple sand' clay, a reddish-brown stoneware, which is abundant in the region.

The cursive two-character inscriptions to the cups read yannian, yishou, jixiang and haoyi. The idiom yan nian yi shou can be translated as 'the extension of longevity' and would bring a wish for long life to the owner. Jixiang can be translated as 'good fortune' and haoyi can be translated as ' kindness and good intention'. The seal marks to the bases of the cups reading tian fu tao yi can be translated as 'heavenly and fortunate art of pottery'.

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