China has a long history of making clay pottery. In fact, ceramics is an intricate part of Chinese history and culture. From kitchenware to statues and all sorts of utilitarian items, it takes immense skill and training for craftsmen to master the fine art of making Chinese pottery. While just about any type of Chinese pottery is popularly known for its quality, still none can quite match the value of the famous Yixing teapots. What is the history behind this brand of pottery and what possible answers can the recently-discovered kilns at Yixing hold?
For starters, Yixing is a type of pottery that is perhaps the most valued of its kind in the world. Constructed using a unique type of clay called Zisha, these pots are made by some of the most talented potters in all of China. And while people from this town are known to be connected with the creation of pots even during its early history, it's not until the Song Dynasty where the creation of these exquisite teapot forms were first established.
Of course, the first step would be the discovery of the material used for these teapots: Zisha clay. Zisha is a unique type of clay that can only be found in the clay mines of Yixing. It gives the unique properties of the Yixing teapots, including its distinct purplish color and its unique ability to retain the flavor of the tea prepared in its vessel. But while the clay plays a huge role in its overall quality, it only represents half of the equation.
The other reason why Yixing has attained the reputation it has is because the people who are creating them are fully committed to making nothing less than the best teapots around. These potteries go beyond just teapots, there are also the utilitarian items that are still the mainstay of the industry today, and are legitimate works of art. Potters are trained by masters to become the best in what they do, and then they pass on all that they have learned to future generations of potters.
Of course, any tradition has to have a beginning. And perhaps, this beginning can be found at Yingjiao Shan. Archaeological excavations have been made in the area, and it just might provide the clues on how the first Yixing pots look. As the discovered site is estimated to date from the the Song Dynasty, it is easy to say that the actual age of the items found there can range anywhere from 800-1200 years old. It is likely that teapots found at the site should be among the very first Yixing teapots ever made.
Karen Davis is an Yixing Teapot enthusiast and collected her first pot back in the 1980's. She is the founder of Brownstoneshopper, an online webstore that sells Yixing teapots. We have a variety of teapots showcased in our online gallery. If you enjoyed this article, visit us now online at http://www.brownstoneshopper.com/contact-us/ and sign up for your FREE Report!
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