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Yixing Clay Teacup - Decorative

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This beautiful hand-crafted Yixing teacup is made from the clay of the Yixing Chinese province.

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This beautiful hand-crafted Yixing cup is made from the clay of the Yixing Chinese province. Yixing ware has the unique ability to absorb the tea flavor with continued usage. The fired clay contains tiny air pockets which provide insulation and enhanced taste and aroma of fine tea. The different colors are achieved from pigments added into the clay before firing. Due to the handmade nature of this tea pot, the textures and patterns will vary from piece to piece.


Why buy and dedicate a Yixing teacup for different kinds of tea?

Yixing teacups (or Zisha teacup) are known to be great to brew different kinds of tea. Due to the porous nature of the clay, this kind of teaware is very absorbent. Overtime the teapot will acquire the taste of the tea you steep in it. Because of this feature, you want it to only absorb one type of flavor.

Therefore, as a starting point you could dedicate one teapot for:

raw pu erh tea
ripe pu erh tea
light oolong
oxidized / roasted oolongs
black tea

Some drinkers like to make a difference between origin. For example, black tea from Yunnan and Fujian have a different flavor profile and therefore it could be worth it to use a different Yixing teapot. Others, even brew different pu erhs in different teacup based on age.

However, generally we believe the above division is specific enough as a start, unless you've deep pockets and love to collect Zisha clay teacup.

Why not green or white tea?

Generally you won't often see green or white teas being brewed in a clay teapot. One main benefit of the Yixing teacup is that it isolates the heat very well making it suitable for the above teas that needs to be steeped at a high temperature. Green and white teas however often taste better when steeped at lower temperatures. And because of the light flavors, they often don't taste as good when brewed in a clay teapot, compared to for example glass or porcelain teaware.

Avoid flavored teas or herbs

As said before, clay teacup are very absorbent. When flavored teas or other types of herbs are steeped in a Yixing teapot, it will absorbed those strong flavors, affecting the taste of teas you steep in it in the future. For flavored teas or herbs we strongly recommend using glass or porcelain.


8 Features You Should Know About Yixing Teacups

1. Yixing teacup not only preserve the original color, aroma and flavor of the tea, but also enhances the tea taste by making it richer and more mellow.

2. The longer the teacup is used, the more glossy it becomes. That’s because the teapot absorbs a tiny amount of tea each time while brewing, which allows the pot to develop a shiny coating.

3. Yixing teacups have excellent resistance to heat and cold. It can be used on the stove or in the microwave oven without cracking.

4. With its slow heat transfer and heat preservation properties, the teapot is safe to touch and use, while brewing, without burning your hands.

5. The special clay absorbs the fragrance of the tea. If you just put plain water in a frequently used Yixing teapot, the water will smell and taste like tea!

6. The color of a Yixing teacup is normally reddish brown (though other colors are now also available), but it changes over time when used regularly. It is amazing how the color changes and varies depending on the tea you use. For example, if the pot is used for black tea more often, the color will change to mahogany; if it is usually used for green tea, the color will change to brown. It's not very usual to use a clay teapot for green tea though. To find out which tea types are suitable and why you should dedicate a clay teapot to specific tea types read this article.

7. Yixing clay is easy to mold, which makes it suitable to transform it into different styles. Moreover, after molding, it will retain its form while heated in a kiln. This property of Yixing clay enables artisans to create unique teacup that often resemble fruit/melon like shapes.

8. The porous nature of Yixing clay allows the pot to preserve the full flavor of the tea. It's said that even when you keep tea overnight, it doesn’t spoil or change its color.

Additional Information

About:

Yixing teacup (pronounced ee-shing) first appeared during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279) in the Yixing region of China, located in the Jiangsu province, about 120 miles northwest of Shanghai. The Jiangsu province is the world's only source for the unique clay from which Yixing teacup are made, called purple or red clay. Yixing teacup were relatively unknown for many years until the late Ming Dynasty (1600s) when their use and production began to flourish. Demand from Europe and throughout China fueled an active industry in which many artists developed their craft to high levels of mastery.

Yixing clay (Purple clay, purple sand, zisha clay)’s unique properties make it ideal for brewing tea. The quality most immediately apparent is the attractive color of purple clay. This color, sometimes augmented by natural pigments, is never hidden on Yixing teacup by glazes. Similarly, the inside of Yixing teacup are always left uncoated. The porous nature of purple clay absorbs the flavor, smell, and color of the tea that is brewed in it.

Over time, Yixing teacup develop a seasoning from repeated use, making the tea brewed from a well-used teapot a special treat. For this reason, most people will dedicate a single flavor of tea to a specific Yixing teapot, so that the seasoning is not disrupted by cross-brewing.

This beautiful hand-crafted Yixing Ware tea pot is made from the clay of the Yixing Chinese province. Yixing ware has the unique ability to absorb the tea flavor with continued usage. The fired clay contains tiny air pockets which provide insulation and enhanced taste and aroma of fine tea. The different colors are achieved from pigments added into the clay before firing. Due to the handmade nature of this tea pot, the textures and patterns will vary from piece to piece.

 

 

THE SHORT STORY OF YIXING

For centuries, the Yixing (say: E-Shing) teapot has enjoyed the reputation among Chinese tea drinkers as being, in the words of one writer, “a superior vessel for tea drinking.” In fact, scientific studies have been conducted in an effort to pinpoint those objective characteristics that have won Yixing ware such praise.

But what of the history behind these teacup?

The Yixing teapot was the first pot designed specifically for brewing tea. Prior to about 1500 CE, the Chinese preferred a powdered tea mixture whisked in a teabowl. These first Yixing teacup (also spelled Ixing, I-hsing or Yi-Hsing) originated in the Jiangsu (or Kiangsi) province about 100 miles west of Shanghai.

Initially, the Chinese Imperial Court preferred the more ornate, glazed tea vessels. Yixing became instead the favorite of the “literati” or class of Chinese intellectuals for their simplicity and naturalism in both material and form. European artisans also imitated the earthenware Yixing pots, inspiring such well-known British ceramic enterprises known today as Wedgwood. History tells us, however, that the British were not terribly successful in their attempts to copy Yixing, and continued to import much of their ceramic tea ware from China.

Yixing teacup, renowned for their quaint charm and unique tea brewing qualities, have enjoyed a remarkable resurgence of artistry and popularity in the last few years.

Yixing, near Shanghai, has a long history as the “Pottery Capital” of China. It was here during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE) that the world’s first teacup were created. During the years that followed, the distinctive reddish stoneware teacup of Yixing came to be considered the “best vessel for brewing tea” by Chinese tea aficionados. In the late 17th century Yixing teacup were introduced to Europe along with the first tea shipments, and provided the models for the earliest Dutch, German and English teacup.

The long-standing celebrity of Yixing teacup is due to several reasons. First, when tea is brewed in teacup made from the special “Zisha” (purple sand) clay, a tiny amount of tea is absorbed in the interior. These teacup are never washed with soap–just rinsed with cold water. With continued use, a layer of tea sediment forms and one is actually brewing tea within tea. This is ideal for enhancing the flavor, color, and aroma of fine Green or Semi-black tea. The “Zisha” clay and the snugly fitted lid conserve heat within the teapot, further improving the brewing process.

Many Yixing teacup designed for the Chinese market are smallish (100-300 ml) by Western standards. This is so the entire contents of the pot may be quickly emptied after each infusion. This method assures that tea is served fresh, hot and strong without the cooling and bitterness that may occur when tea leaves are left to steep too long in a larger pot.

In addition to their brewing function, these pots are simply lovely, with a rustic elegance of form taken from nature, simple geometry, or pure whimsy, and a tactile quality that almost urges that they be picked up and handled. Potters of Yixing have traditionally signed their works with their personal “chop marks”. This practice reflects the potter’s great pride of workmanship and provides collectors with the satisfaction of attributing work according to potter and time period.

Yixing enjoyed long periods of prosperity during the Ching Dynasty (1644-1911 CE). During the early Republic (1911-1938) Yixing wares were exported in quantity to Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States of America. The great turmoil of war and revolution in China during the 1930s and 1940s brought the manufacturing of Yixing teacup to a halt. It wasn’t until 1954 that the Chinese government established communes for the purpose of gathering together the old master potters to recruit and train a new generation of potters, thus insuring that the great traditions would be preserved. This process continued despite the difficulties of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. By 1979 the Yixing Purple Sand Factory #1 employed 600 workers. Still, only a handful of potters were master artisans. Most produced utilitarian wares for the domestic market.

In the mid-1980s, the reopening of China brought a “rediscovery” of Yixing teacup by Chinese art collectors and tea connoisseurs outside of China. With this infusion of enthusiastic patronage, the artistic potential of the new generation of Yixing potters burst into bloom. Hong Kong became the focus for international exhibitions with collectors drawn from Chinese communities in Asia, particularly Singapore and Taiwan. In 1988, an exhibition entitled “Innovations in Contemporary Yixing Pottery” was presented by the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware in Hong Kong. Over 200 of the finest works by leading potters were presented. This splendid display of form, theme and workmanship as created by the new generation was absolutely dazzling. Some works equaled and even surpassed the efforts of the great master potters of the Ching Dynasty! This outpouring of innovation and artistry has continued with an enthusiastic following of knowledgeable collectors eagerly awaiting each year’s abundant harvest of new designs and re-creations of the old ones.

Care: No
Product of: China
Volume 3.4 oz
Dimensions No