A Gaiwan is a graceful vessel with a lid, a saucer, and a cup. Traditionally, Gaiwan is also called “San Cai Wan” (Three Talent Bowl) or “San Cai Bei” (Three Talent Cup). In Chinese philosophy, Gaiwan also represents the ultimate harmony of human beings and nature. The saucer is the earth, the lid is the sky, and the cup represents the people who stand in between them. Drinking tea with a Gaiwan can help you test the quality of tea and is good for multiple steepings.
Traditionally, the flared edge of a Gaiwan is held with the thumb and middle finger, using the index finger to steady the lid. To avoid burning the hands, it is recommended to spread the fingers against the bottom of the saucer and hold the lid with the thumb. Beginners can also use two hands to keep the Gaiwan stable.