Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby Alex » Sep 22nd, '12, 12:45

ethan wrote:bagua7's list of tests of a Yixing pot conerns: a pot may not be xisha clay, but is it a likely source of poison; or, (less drastically) gives tea that does not taste good as it could taste?
I just bought a "Yixing" teapot in Thailand for less than $15 at a shop selling only Chinese items in a building that has about a dozen such shops. Putting the pot in boiling water, the outside looked to have had a wax finish. No other clear sign of it being a fake> so?
I don't care about authenticity or exact.... just taste & health. Are dangerous teapots really being produced & shipped?
Advice?



I'd probably start a new thread for that buddy. Provide some pics as well etc. :D
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby bagua7 » Sep 23rd, '12, 01:54

Why? Let's keep things tidy to avoid having 50 different threads for one single topic.

There are a couple of users here which live in Bangkok and probably can give you the right advice with that regards, if they happen to chime in. Now, I remember Tead Off (one of them) saying that finding quality Yixing pots in Thailand is not easy and they aren't cheap either.

Personally I'd use that cheap pot you just bought to grow a tiny little tree. :lol:
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby ethan » Sep 23rd, '12, 02:53

I'm back in USA (Boston). Despite feeling that the pot could be okay, I'll heed your advice & use it for decor (w/o tree) for now. The feeling is clay = dirt & dirt is cheap; so, a quality teapot could be cheap. The knowledge is that I know nothing. Someday I'll bring the pot to someone who does comprehend "Yixing". Thanks.
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby needaTEAcher » Nov 13th, '12, 10:09

Tead Off wrote:Just to clarify; I am not against academic study and gathering information on Yixing. But, I know from experience, that you just cannot take this info into the field and not get into trouble. It takes years to learn and that learning is limited to the students who can gain hands-on experience with a teacher who is qualified in this area. Too many think they are experts.


I like the idea here, Baggy, even if I am a bit late jumping in. I just want to say that this reminds me of self-defense classes, to which I am actually somewhat opposed: people, usually women, take a 3 or 6 hour seminar, learn a few things they never practice, then often times feel bolder or stronger, perhaps even making bad choices for it. Depending on the martial art, I feel like it takes at least 2 or 3 years of serious study to become street-fluent, so a 3-6 hour class does nothing! Kind of a scam (unless it's a good instructor who points this out and drills common-sense safty practices!) Similar to the idea of zisha guides. The written info is great, I love reading all this stuff, but you don't want some poor newbie to read for 6 hours, feel the expert, then go out and buy 10 fake pots. Anyway, keep the pots coming!

Edit: I was frustrated in Bangkok's Chinatown. There were few places selling even fake zisha, and what I did find was overpriced, and didn't feel real to me. Even my wife, who knows less than me about all this stuff, kept commenting on how fake they seemed! Poor Bangkok. :(
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby chrl42 » Nov 13th, '12, 12:06

Many asian coutries sent their peoples to the West, to open a stage of technologies, like old day's Japan, 80's China or HK under international influence. There's nothing more evident to visit and see themselves (there are exceptions like Ruth Benedict)..I think Yixing teapot is similar..I mean it's not easy to know it after graduating internet university :mrgreen:

Learning a culture is never an easy thing, it's not all the Chinese understand Yixing teapots either..it's better they don't cos the clay already got depleted and Korean Yixing market is somewhat stagnant after having 20 years of Korea-China relations. If learning that is easy, the Koreans would be so easy to launch business in China and make profits but they always face difficulties in localization.

I will cut the crap..There are 3 points in buying Yixing teapot IMHO.

1. Antique or vintage Yixings..this one you need trustful sources..older experts in Taiwan or mainland or go to auction but this can cause $$
2. Master Yixings...good Yixing potters (like Shipiao for Li Han-yong, thin-wall Yixings for Chen Guo-liang or Zhuni for Xu Jin-gen) are already well-known so this one needs more $$ than vintage Yixings because rich main-landers are after it.
3. Quality Yixings by relatively unknown artists, a niche market or Factory-1. I find this market to be idle for west, and most economic. But this market is also not so abstract as it seems like many potters use the same moulds over. If I talk more, it's like I am talking something I don't know..so :mrgreen:
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby bagua7 » Nov 13th, '12, 21:36

Fully agreed. Living in Taiwan, KL or HK makes a huge difference in the learning process as long as one hangs out with the "right people." Yixing-ology will always be a very complex and expensive subject, unfortunately.
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby chrl42 » Nov 14th, '12, 03:27

bagua7 wrote:Fully agreed. Living in Taiwan, KL or HK makes a huge difference in the learning process as long as one hangs out with the "right people." Yixing-ology will always be a very complex and expensive subject, unfortunately.

Rather simple, you just need to pay $$ :mrgreen:

High-level master/Grand masters can narrow down to a few, like Zhou Gui-zhen, Lv Yao-chen and He Dao-hong (drop Li Chang-hong this time)

The mainland collectors are becoming smart enough to ignore their 'level', example is un-levelled Wu Jie-ming, Wu Dong-yuan or Jiang Jian-ming getting more attention than many High-level masters..the point is to know where your money goes to. Many famous masters are not skilled or hire substitute-potters.

Antique market's no different, Qing Zhuni at 10000~30000rmb, Qianlong period or master antiques starting from 30000rmb

A niche market..but Factory-1 pots are also fixed price..the next..good Yixings by unknowns...where's my train ticket for Yixing? :mrgreen:
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby bagua7 » Nov 27th, '12, 06:04

More info about categories of Yixing clay in the following link.

Nothing that the regulars of teachat wouldn't know by now, just some good visual stuff to look at. :)
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby needaTEAcher » Nov 27th, '12, 08:27

I'm right now posting a topic about clay types with some interesting info, very much along the same lines as these distinctions! Check it out!
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby bagua7 » Nov 29th, '12, 19:04

Main difference between zhu ni and hong ni clays

1. Ore. The ore is different: hong ni is mud colored soil inside ordinary pure zhu ni ore (yellow stone).

2. Shrinkage ratio is different. The shrinkage ratio of hong ni is about 14%, while the pure zhu ni shrinkage ratio is about 30%. This has a significant effect on the final cost.

3. Firing temperature is also different. Hong ni kiln temperature is 1100 degrees, while pure zhu ni kiln temperature of 1080 degrees.

4. Colour and texture are not the same. Hong ni clean and bright red with a slightly orange tone; pure zhu ni: vermilion with a pan-orange light tone, very good texture.

5. Different moulding process. Hong ni easier to mould and it can accommodate to large pot sizes, whereas with zhu ni the molding process is very difficult; it suits small type of pots.
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby needaTEAcher » Nov 29th, '12, 21:23

Every zhuni pot but one that I have seen was less than 150cc, but I have seen one larger zhuni pot. I don't know, maybe 300cc or so. So the larger ones aren't impossible, just rarer I guess. I've been comparing modern zhuni to the latest "real" zhuni (I hope to at some point include comparisons to much older zhuni!) and there really is no comparison. The colors, the sound, the tea!!!!
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby bagua7 » Nov 29th, '12, 21:33

Yes, I can hear you from here.

I guess the price would be near the 4 figures for commercial grade pots.

Finding real zhu ni outside Asia is nearly an impossible task.

I want to have one of those babies, I'm not greedy, just one. :twisted:

Which potter would risk cracking a 200mL zhu ni pot in the kiln? So I suppose that explains why they are moulded to a small size.
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby TIM » Nov 30th, '12, 12:20

needaTEAcher wrote:Every zhuni pot but one that I have seen was less than 150cc, but I have seen one larger zhuni pot. I don't know, maybe 300cc or so. So the larger ones aren't impossible, just rarer I guess. I've been comparing modern zhuni to the latest "real" zhuni (I hope to at some point include comparisons to much older zhuni!) and there really is no comparison. The colors, the sound, the tea!!!!


Good collector's items larger then 400ml. Mainly from the Qing Dynasty.
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby needaTEAcher » Nov 30th, '12, 22:04

I was just looking through a book about older zisha with a huge zhuni pot from the qing dynasty.
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Re: Guide to Yixing Clay Teapots

Postby needaTEAcher » Dec 1st, '12, 03:45

Lol, funny timing from the universe. I was thinking about Baggy's post today when I stumbled across my Yixing teacher's stash of 5 zhuni pots. 3 around 120-130cc, and one is a cool 200cc, and the other is 300ccish. Just thought it worth mentioning that there are those larger zhuni pots, just pretty rare.

Personally, I prefer larger pots and cups, which I am noticing seems to be the norm here in Yixing, so I am in heaven with the 300cc zhuni xishi I am using. Hong Kong and Xishuangbanna had smaller pots and cups, Yixing larger. Interesting!

BTW, brewing a dry-stored '90 sheng bing. Not my favorite tea due to a strong tabacco-type flavor (which I hear is a good thing, but not my thing). But I am playing with pushing it really, really hard, and the pot/tea combo is really holding up. Pouring it into a tall duanni cup (more surface area hitting tea to soften the extra strong tea), and I am impressed by this pot! Transforms the tea into something new. Sweeter and softer, despite pushing it so hard. Amazing. Anyway, super off topic here. Sorry!
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