For centuries, tea master and tea enthusiasts the world over have sought the perfect method of preparing leaf tea. Either as part of a ritual or simply to obtain the best possible beverage, each culture has developed its own art of tea, adapted to its specific lifestyle. Of course, the practice of drinking tea is essentially to enhance and develop the preparation of leaf tea and adapt it to daily consumption. The tea set is best suited to this purpose. Here, then, is an overview of different kinds of Yixing tea sets, some of which are linked to a specific culture or ritual.
Yixing Tea Sets
Earthenware Yixing tea sets come from the Chinese county of the same name. Thanks to the porous nature of the clay from which they are made, they have the capacity to "remember" the teas that have been infused in them, and so they are called "memory teapots."
Objects fashioned from clay date back to the Han dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE), but it was in the middle of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), around 1500, that a significant production began. Toward the end of the 17th century, Yixing teapots arrived in Europe. High demand from European clients led Chinese craftspeople to create some of their pieces with them in mind.
Yixing is a town in Jiangshu Province, to the west of Shanghai. Famous for the quality of its clay as well as for the incredible creativity of its potters, Yixing still produces tea sets that enjoy a solid reputation in China and abroad. The center of production is in Dingshan, a community close to Yixing. In addition to the small workshops of craftspeople who work entirely by hand, there are large manufacturers who mass-produce tea sets.
Yixing purple clay tea sets are particularly suited to the preparation of black, wulong and Pu er teas.
There are three main types of Yixing clay: zishani (purple-clay), hongni (red-clay) and banshanlu (yellow-clay). The following natural characteristics make Yixing clay a distinctive raw material:
• Its malleability, which makes it easy to work with and has allowed craftspeople to develop a technique to make the tea sets entirely by hand. Note that Yixing teawares are rarely formed using a pottery wheel; they are usually shaped by hand. • Its porous quality, which means that a Yixing tea set should only be used for a single family of teas. • Its high concentration of ferrous oxide is easily visible on the surface of the tea set.
The clay is made from rocks that are extracted, crushed, cleaned, kneaded and sifted, then mixed together. The colors of the three types of Yixing clay vary according to where and from what depth the rocks were extracted, as well as the firing method used by the potter. The sound made by the teapot when it is tapped gently with its lid is also distinctive and can often be a test of quality. The sound should be clear and metallic.
THE MEMORY TEAPOT
When they are hot, the sides of a Yixing teapot absorb the tannins in the tea, creating a deposit that builds up over successive infusions. This is how the memory teapot acquires its coating. The more the teapot is used, the better it will reveal the wealth of aromas in the teas infused in it.
THE THREE-LEVEL RULE
If a Yixing teapot for the gong fu cho ceremony is well made, it will conform to the three-level rule: the tip of the spout and the top of the handle will be level with the rim of the teapot In addition, the lid should fit the opening in the teapot as closely as possible, so it does not move, and the handle and spout should be perfectly aligned.
The seal (or signature) of the potter is printed on each teapot. It is usually on the bottom of the teapot or under the lid, and sometimes it is under the handle.
About Our Yixing Tea Set
Established and founded by tea lovers for tea lovers. Our factory was made to reflect the classic age of the National Yixing Factory, carrying the culture and tradition of this famous tea set to future generations. We aim to make useable tea set that enhances tea drinking with its beauty and function.
Insurance of quality:
1. Our Material
Our ore is chosen by masters with decades of experience and mined with the best of today's technology, then processed by hand in the age-old ways.
Our clay is mixed and kneaded in the traditional way to ensure the quality of the pots.
Our potters are chosen from thousands of applicants. Many of them are prize-winners. No factory has done this since the classic age.
Our kilns use the best of modern technology to ensure consistency and quality of the tea set.