Shuiping is one of the most popular styles of teapot, found throughout Taiwan and Hong Kong. Shuiping translates to "water-balance", referencing the ability of shuiping pots to float on water, perfectly balanced. This was used a test for aspiring students, in order to become a craftsman, they had to create a perfect shuiping which floated without capsizing. These teapots were selected for their superior quality of clay and craftsmanship, not for their ability to float.
This teapot was made with a dark reddish-purple Yixing clay, known as dicaoqing. The name is derived from its method of production, and means "at the bottom of the qigni (zini, purple clay) trench", this is because dicaoqing is found lower than the other grades of clay, deeper in the earth. It is an original ore zhisha clay, mined from the Huanglongshan #4 Mine, which is now closed and no longer producing clay. After being extracted from the earth, this clay is allowed to age for four years, which increases the clay's plasticity.
Dicaoqing is incredibly versatile, and good for most types of tea. The flavors of the tea will be enhanced by the mineral composition of the teapot; the porous nature of Yixing clay allows it to become seasoned after extensive use, absorbing aromatic compounds and oils from the tea. The unique mineral composition of the clay, and their ionic capabilities, purportedly enhance the flavor profiles of certain teas.