A Tea Addict's Journal

Purple clay?

April 17, 2008 · 6 Comments

Everybody knows that Yixing clay is supposed to be good for tea. Everybody also knows that Yixing is often called purple clay, but how often have you ever seen stuff that can truly be called purple? They’re most likely red, brown, dark brown, beige, green, or blue even, but purple?

I found a pot that may, I think, qualify as purple

The only other pot that comes near this colour is my dancong pot, but that, when put next to this one, appears dark brown instead of purple. I didn’t mess with the colour balance on this picture, and it’s taken under sunlight. The pot really is sort of purple.

Is this the original yixing clay? Is this how Yixing zisha is supposed to look?

The pot I got for what is basically a song, and I think it might be a Republian (1911-1949) pot. The maker’s mark is Gemingchang, which is a Republican period workshop. It’s not the world’s best made pot. But the clay intrigues me. It’s purple. It’s a bit rough to the touch. In fact, I’ve noticed over time that many older pots seem to have rougher surfaces than the ones that are made these days (real zhuni excepted). The reason, as I was told, is that nowadays the clay is mixed much more finely, whereas back in the day without machine or high tech tools, the most they can do with the clay is a coarse ground. That would make sense, I suppose. I also wonder though if the clay themselves changed over time. I’m sure it has.

I used this to make the biyuzhu again today, this time with a lot less leaves. Compared to the zhuni pot, this time it came out a little less fragrant, but the depth and the throatiness was much more pronounced. The tea still lasts forever, even with less leaves…

Categories: Objects · Old Xanga posts
Tagged: ,

6 responses so far ↓

  • bahason // April 18, 2008 at 12:49 am | Reply

    came across your xanga randomly. your blog is just plain amazing. tea = winner

  • iwii // April 18, 2008 at 3:05 am | Reply

    I once heard about a “zhu gan” called technique to fire some special zhisha clay, that would result in such kind of purple colors. I don’t know more about this, but it is the only thing that come to mind when seeing your pot.

  • mulcahyfeldman // April 18, 2008 at 9:37 am | Reply

    Very pretty in the pewter. What about your black pot? Isn’t it more or less such a deep purple it’s become black, possibly from tea? Regardless, the pot is stunning. Eileen

  • MANDARINstea // April 18, 2008 at 1:12 pm | Reply

    Beautiful color! Is the color reflecting a used and seasoned pot? Wondering how the color might change… My thought is, a good clay might have different stage of color changes, you never know how it will end up -in a good way, of course. -Toki

  • MarshalN // April 18, 2008 at 2:03 pm | Reply

    Bahason: Thanks 🙂

    Iwii: Do you remember where you read that?

    Eileen: The black pot is more or less black. This is…. not black. Quite purple, I’d say. I’ll post a picture up tonight that will show the differences, I think

    Toki: The pot is actually hardly seasoned. It was used as something other than teapot, although I don’t know what exactly. The colour of the boy is a bit darker than the lid, but the button of the lid is the same colour as the body, so I’m thinking whoever used it didn’t really know how to season pots very much. I’ll have to work on the lid and burnish it a bit to give it a bit more sheen.

  • mulcahyfeldman // April 22, 2008 at 12:56 pm | Reply

    Have you recommended a seasoning technique somewhere that I may have missed? If not, can you let us in on your technique. I’ve noticed there are many suggested methods. Any progress on posting the purple and black pots together?

Leave a Comment