Yixing Teapots

(pronounced EE SHING)
 

Yixing, near Shanghai has for centuries been known as “the pottery capital of China.”  The world’s first teapots were created here during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). And, to this day, the distinctive "zi sha" earthenware teapots are considered the best vessels for brewing tea, by tea aficionados. Often referred to as "purple clay" or "purple sand", there can be several color variations depending on what layer the raw material came from and how well it was refined. With designs taken from nature, geometric shapes, or artistic whimsy, these small teapots made the voyage to Europe with the first tea shipments in the late 17th century.  They served as the models for the early Dutch, German, and English teapots. The small size ensures that the tea leaves will not steep too long, and that each cup will be fresh and hot.  Notice the “Chop” marks on bottom of the pot, under the lid, and maybe even at the base of the handle.  This is the insignia of the artist who skillfully hand crafted each pot.

It may take weeks or even months to create some of the more complex designs. A craftsperson may even need to make special tools that are specific to one design. In the past, a master would teach is art to several students but only teach his secrets to a select few or one. It takes many years of diligent training to master even one style. The main factors that determine a teapot’s value are; rarity of the raw clay, degree of refinement, complexity of the design and the skill and renown of the craftsperson. Though each is a collector’s item, Yixing teapots are made to be used and their colors can become richer with use. Their centuries of fame have led to counterfeiting and teapots made from clays from other places, though attractive, may not be suitable for consumption. It can take a studied eye to tell the difference but authentic Yixing clay is lead free and the natural porosity brings out the tea's best taste. We import our teapots directly from artisans in Yixing (sometimes in our own suitcases).

 

Collectors Series Series 1 - $63.00 Series 2 - $45.00 Series 3 - $30.00 Series 4 - $15.00

 

Kettles Cups Trays & Tables Tools