Some of the wackiest teapots you’ll ever see: Hong Kong potters turn out in record numbers for annual contest

Who says Hongkongers lack creativity? Skulls, submarines, fruit and vegetables in a rainbow hue of colours among entries for tea ware design contest, though Alice Hui’s classic design takes top prize

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2016, 5:34pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2016, 5:34pm

Hongkongers are sometimes pilloried for lacking creativity, but you wouldn’t know it from this year’s entries for an annual pottery design contest – some of the most outrageous teapots you’ll ever see.

Among the record 276 entrants for the 10th Tea Ware by Hong Kong contest, Vitus Szeto Kin, who works in the shipyard industry, was first runner-up in the open category with teapots that look like submarines and Aladdin lamps with sails. Called “Two Poles”, his work-inspired entry also includes covered teacups in the shape of sea mines and mooring buoys.

Hilary Chan Hiu-lam, a Form Three student at St Stephen’s Girls’ College in Mid-Levels, came third in the school category with a statement on behalf of her peers. Called “Educational Mishap” in English and “Death by studying” in Chinese, her teapot is shaped like a human skull, with a pencil, a triangle ruler and a candle – a reference to those all-night cramming sessions, perhaps – jutting out of it. The pot and two smaller, skull-shaped cups sit in (ceramic) pools of crimson blood to create a wonderfully macabre display.

This is the 10th Tea Ware by Hong Kong Potters awards and more than 100 shortlisted entries are on display at the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware until next November. The upper level rooms are filled with teapots that don’t look like teapots. Betty Ko Yee-ling’s “Fire of Life (2): Alive” looks like burnt charcoal. Fung Ka-wai’s “Letters to My Dearest” are a collection of traditional letter boxes with envelopes sticking out at the top. Cheng Poh-ling’s “Summer Favorites” feature a pineapple, an artichoke and two bundles of bananas.

There are also entries that are geometric or classically elegant, such as the overall winner in the open category. Alice Hui Shiu-chun’s “Reunion” is made up of a traditionally shaped teapot and two cups. It looks understated next to the more playful entries, but the judges were impressed by the beautiful wood-fire glaze and her application of the wood ash.

“I made these in the US where I fired them for seven days and nights,” Hui said following the awards ceremony on Tuesday.

Most of the potters have years of experience, except for Nicholas Leung, a Primary Four student from San Wui Commercial Society YMCA of Hong Kong Christian School. He only started pottery lessons a year ago and still clinched second prize in the school category with “Happy School”, a brightly coloured teapot representing the vision of one too young to be cynical about the education system.

2016 Tea Ware by Hong Kong Potters, 1/F Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, 10 Cotton Tree Drive, Central. Mon, Wed-Sun, 10am - 6pm. Closed on Tuesday (except public holidays). Christmas Eve and Chinese New Year’s Eve, 10am - 5pm. Ends November 6, 2017.