A tea pet or tea lover’s pet is a small statuette made of Yixing clay (zisha).
As the name suggests, this pet will be raised by the tea lover. In China the custom is to place the statuette on the tea tray during the traditionnal tea ceremony to bring good luck to the drinker. Tea should be then pourred over it in the same way as for Yixing cups, tea pots, or gaiwan, in order to blend it with tea tanins. Some even brush leftover tea to help the tea pet absorb the tea evenly!
Over ceremonies, months, and years, tea pet will absorb tea and it’s appearance will become glossier along with the aroma of the tea.
As with every other Yixing clay items it shouldn’t be cleaned with soap or rub with a rough cloth, simply rinced with clear waer.