bagua7 wrote:The truth is that the whole Yixing market is a BIG MESS, and no one wants to admit it. They just fully opened Pandora's box and in the end is that everyone has been affected (not only customers) by so much deception and misinformation.
If you have a pot that brews excellent tea, keep it, look after it well and use it for years/decades to come. Collecting Yixings (especially if you are after pure -if there is such a thing as pure clay being used- and older pots) is like gambling in a casino, a rich man's game.
Actually its not that big a mess if you know your objectives. the yixing pot is just a vessel to make tea. and if your objective is to make good tea, then knowing the vessel well enough and its properties to be able to enhance the brew is good enough. brewing tea in an expensive pot wont make it taste any better than a pot of recent manufacture if they have similar properties, and sometimes not even comparable to using a gaiwan. but the brew from such a pot sometimes is necessary not to feed the stomach but to feed the ego and self esteem.
it is not uncommon to see people bragging, "me drink best tea in 60s zhuni!" to have another bragging, "me drink 30-40 year old pu-erh in early ROC pots only!".. to another one.. that "big deal! me drink song pin hao in qing dynasty vessels only!" .. and another from Ming Dynasty and so on. although it may be possible for us or anyone to look at such people with "disdain", but maybe in due time we have to learn to understand and be compassionate towards them because of their needs, particularly on the psychological aspect, and they do not enjoy the tea, but just the temporal satisfaction of knowing that they are "up there" and have out done others. it is not wrong to have such a need.
the other spectrum of yixing is to play with "artisan" pots from famous makers. without a doubt, most of these pots are either too big for regular usage and possibly too pricey to risk damaging through usage. the main appreciation of these pots is in the artistry of the vessels, so much so that an 80s made pot can cost thousands of times of that the price of an ROC or Qing pot, and tens of thousands of times of that of 80s-90s pots.
the chinese, being a fan of classification and naming things would naturally give names to different color types, different blends, different mixes based on the appearances of them. how pure can clay be, considering that it is a natural blend of ores? perhaps purity would mean un-adulterated, un-mixed, but in some eras, some clays are blended with each other to achieve new colors. digging from different depths, different strata will also generate a gradient of different chemical compositions and as such different color tones, particularly at boundary areas of layers. in the aging/eroding of the clay in storage prior to being made into products, oxidation state changes bring about color tone changes, particle size change, etc (which is why some processing methods in this step is considered artisan secrets sometimes) after firing, differences of 20 degrees celsius/1-2% temperature difference (considering firing at 1100-1200), results in a variety of color tones as well.