In the south of China in Late-Ming Dynasty, the agriculture, handicraft industry were flourishing day by day. The developments of productive forces formed an active commodity circulation so that the business culture to diversify increasingly. The manufactured technique of purple clay teapot got big improvements because of the participation of literati, the best teapot was the purple clay ware, it would not take away the perfume of tea, neither nor the smell of hot soup. This was the biggest difference between the purple clay ware and the purple pottery.
The most famous ware in purple clay wares is Zisha teapot. There are so many records in historical documents. In the early culture records, they called it as "Ou zhu" "Zhu", "clay jar", ,they also called it as "Yi pot", "Yangxian teapot", "Tea zhu", "Wa pot", "Yixing clay pot',"Yangxian porcelain pot", etc. All of these were the teapot what we called as "Yixing Zisha".
For hundreds of years,the developments of Yixing Zisha teapot included many field such as folk, literati, royal court, religion, exportation. The application of folk purple clay teapot can be divided into "big pot",, "teahouse pot","family pot". Only the "famous pot" were admired by common people. This kind of pots were the intervening acts of culturati as a matter of fact, the cooperation with the famous workers, what they searched was the attitude of high level and elegant, it could be considered as a spirit of Chinese porcelain and a representation of spirits. It is also an unique feature in the culture history of all of world.
The differences between the purple clay pottery and purple pottery
Purple clay pottery
The purple clay pottery was just the Yixing Zisha pottery. Although there are some other areas exist a small amout of purple clay, but they are different with the Yixing purple clay. Some areas product the purple clay sets as well, but it just continue the traditional style of Yixing Zisha.
The Yixing Zisha is manufactured by the local, includes three kinds of clay such as purple clay, red brown clay and green clay.
The purple clay is kind of hydromica-quartz-kaolinite clay, it contains lots of iron mineral. It can reach a maturing temperature of arounding 1,150 degrees Celsius. The maturing temperature of red clay is a little lower, usually used for making small pot and used as engobe.
Yixing Zisha is molding by clay slices, there is no need glazing when firing.
Purple pottery generally refers to the kinds of potteries made by the red clay materials without any glaze on the surface. Since Ming and Qing Dynasties, come out a number of productions of this type of pottery. The forming methods for their hand-throwing-molding, grouting-clay molding and the clay-bar building moulding, etc. The famous products areas are: Jianshui in Yunnan, Qinzhou in Guangxi, Rongchang in Chongqing, Chaozhou in Guangzhou,etc.
1. Purple pottery in Jianshui, Yunnan
Jianshui Violet Pottery, which was first produced in the Guangxu Period of Qing Dynasty. The clay raw materials is made by local, rich iron content, a maturing temperature reached around 1,200 degrees Celsius. It is characterized by its refined texture, pleasing luster, melodious sound.
Its decoration is carved and fix the clay pattern, then filled with the white clay and different kinds of color clay to form a color contrast, after firing, burnishing it with different quality of stone for many times, manufactured the beautiful shapes and simple elegance of pot.
There are over a hundred kinds of handicrafts made of Jianshui Violet Pottery such as tea sets, steam pots, vases, cookwares and ornaments in studies.
2. Clay pottery of Qinzhou in Guangxi
Clay pottery of Qinzhou which started producing in the Xianfeng Period of Qing Dynasty. Its raw materials come from the good quality of purple clay on both sides of Qinjiang River, after processing, used for making pottery, after firing, it is near the purple color, the quality of paste is vaguely appeared the ochre-yellow color.
Its molding methods included throwing, kneading, stamping back,etc. The decoration included relief sculpture, fiat carving, kneading model, hollow out, padding and inlay,etc. If they burnished the ware without waxing, the shining they called as "hard light", and got much better effects.
The major products are life goods such as bowls, plates, tea sets, wine sets, as well as the ornaments in studies, bottles, vases,etc.
3. Pottery of Rongchang in Chongqing
The pottery of Rongchang was famous as early as the Ming and Qing Dynasties? Three hundred years ago, Rongchang pottery change crude pottery into the fined pottery, sold inland and abroad and got high praise immediately. In the early 20th century, it went into its peak period on production,
Anfu Town in Rongchang is one of the famous place of production in folk arts, and crafts pottery. There are two kinds of clary in Rongchang, one is red and the other is white. Sichuan Rongchang pottery mainly consists of commodities like kettles, jars, pots, vases and so on, with the most famous being the Rongchang pickle jar. The very popular pickle jar is suitable and useful for making pickles as its shape, structure, and proportions are in harmony and create a beautiful appearance.
There are some other decorations such as painted the white engobe on the red clay paste, firing after the decorative cutting and carved flowers, the work is nature and simple. The maturing temperature reaches 1150 degrees Celsius.
4. Red clay pottery of Chaozhou in Guangzhou
Fengxi in Chaozhou was an important porcelain kilns in Song Dynasty,started in Tang Dynasty,fired a crude celadon wares in Song Dynasty, the green glaze and black glaze simultaneously, the blue and white porcelain were the important export ceramics, still fired in Yuan Dynasty.
There were no definite records when the red clay pottery came out The earliest record mentioned the Kungfu tea of Chaozhou was in 'kungfu tea in Chaojia Romantic Affairs", but they were all the Yixing teapots.
Now the earlist mentioned about the red clay teapot made by Wu Yingwu, in Daoguang 27 years next, was ADI847.
Chaozhou people liked the Kungfu tea. They all advocated Yixing red clay teapot, but the local also produced red clay teapot which imitated the shape.
Chaozhou manufactured the red clay teapots until now, although there are a few differences with Yixing teapots, not merely a product, a vessel of life good used for daily life.
Above all of these, we compared the urple pottery in Jianshui, clay pottery of Qinzhou in Guangxi, pottery of Rongchang in Chongqing, red clay pottery of Chaozhou in Guangziiou, then we can find that only the Yixing teapot was molding by clay slices, the others are band throwing molding techmques. Different craftswork, different shapes completely.