Dahongpao Zhuni: Picking and Aging
Lin Hanpeng prides himself on his clay, the work he does in selecting the raw ore, and processing and aging it himself. For the past month, he has been sending us photos of the ore he gathered nearly 3 years ago, as he gets closer to completing his latest batch of teapots – Zhuni dahongpao shuipings. Lin is very excited to see the result of firing this clay, convinced it’s some of the best dahongpao he has processed yet.
Mud&Leaves: I would like to ask, why do you consider this clay to be exceptional? Why is it better than other examples of zhuni dahongpao?
Lin: Because of purity. This clay was sorted and picked very well.
Lin: Both raw zhuni ore and zhuni dahongpao ore are rare. Very few examples of zhuni teapots have been passed down from long ago, because even then zhuni was very rare.
Lin: Often in the market, you can find that zhuni and zhuni dahongpao have been mixed with pre-fired clay or have been mixed with fine sand (Chongjiang 冲浆). These pots don’t look much like zisha (Yixing) teapots.
Mud&Leaves: Did you process this clay yourself?
Mud&Leaves: How long has it been aged?
Lin: I spent more time on this clay than any of the others. It has been aged for 2.5 years.
Mud&Leaves: When you were processing the clay, what steps took the most time and effort?
Lin: Sorting and picking.
Lin: You can see from the photos below, from the first photos showing the first stage of picking, until the last photos where I have sorted the dahongpao from the rest, by the end they are small crumbly pieces.
Lin: Blue and greenish clay and other impurities are tossed during the picking and sorting process.
Mud&Leaves: In this photo, is it these blue and green parts that need to be removed?
Lin: Yes, some of these parts will need to be taken off with a hammer or ax.
Lin: In the middle is the pure clay – zhuni dahongpao – that was set aside and processed for aging 2.5 years ago.