I think by now you will all know that my main interests lie with anything to do with archaeology and ancient times, mainly pottery Therefor it will come as no surprise that I also like collecting certain antique items, one of which are the beautiful Yixing teapots, of which I only ever managed to obtain two to add to my collection of teapots.
Yixing Ware Teapot with looped handle c 1900
HISTORY OF THE YIXING WARES
Archaeology reveals that as early as the Song Dynasty (l0th century) potters near Yixing were using local ” Zisha” (purple sand/clay) to make utensils that may have functioned as teapots.
According to the ‘ Ming dynasty ‘ Zhou Gaoqi , during the reign of Zhengde Emperor, a monk from Jinsha Temple (Golden Sand Temple) in Yixing handcrafted a fine quality teapot from local clay, such teapots soon became popular and the fame of Yixing teapots quickly spread.
These wares are valued for their fine texture, thin walls and naturally beautiful color, ranging from light buff to deep maroon to purple tones. The clay consists of quartz, kaolin, mica and iron oxide and it is the iron oxide which gives the reddish color of the clay.Yixing teapots can be simple and elegant or exotic and elaborate
Teapots from the Ming dynasty tend to be very simple and elegant whereas the Qing dynasty (l644-19ll ) brought a higher level of decoration of the Yixing teapots. and the artists began to create pots with painting, inlaid with gold and silver.
Qing dynasty Teapot and cover c 1720
KangXi an early Emperor in the dynasty liked colored enamel pots which were more formal than those of today. All the pots that entered the palace could only have the seal of the Emperors reign and not the artists shop. During his reign China began exporting these beautiful purple teapots to Europe along with the Chinese tea.
Packing tea into wooden chests for export
Porters lugging tea chests on carrying poles to the shipper 19th century.