• 4 Famous Clays of China

    In 1953, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Chinese government classified Four Major Clays, they are Yixing Zisha, Qinzhou Nixing Clay, Jianshui Zitao, and Chongqing Rongchang Clay.

    Some of these clays, such as zisha (Yixing Clay), have enjoyed more attention. Each has its own history and uses. Below is a very brief description outlining the basic history, differences between these four famous clays, and what they are most often used for in China. 

  • Tian Qing Ni

    Tian qing ni 天青泥 has taken on a legendary status for many Yixing teapot enthusiasts. Said to be the finest variety of zini (Yixing purple clay),  most of the information available about tian qing ni can be found in sources that rely on ancient references to the clay as well as surviving examples of antique tian qing ni teapots and the raw ore (such as the examples found today in the Yixing Ceramics Museum).
  • Ruyao: What's in a glaze?

    A beautiful sky blue glaze that is both shiny and cloudy gives ruyao its defining characteristic that is best described as “jade-like.” True ruyao or fanggu ruyao can be distinguished from cheap mass-produced factory “ruyao” by this characteristic, as well as by its composition and the steps in its manufacture.
  • Jiangponi: New Kid on the Block

    Unlike clays such as zini or hongni, the use of jiangponi for teapots does not have a long history stretching back hundreds of years. In fact, jiangponi is a very young addition to the family of clays used for Yixing teapots, only having been discovered several decades ago.
  • 3 Differences Between Jingdezhen and Dehua Porcelain

    Chinese porcelain is synonymous with two cities in China, Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province, and Dehua in Fujian Province. Both regions came to be centres for porcelain production at different times, serving different markets. Both cities remain the most important centres for porcelain in China. Although exceptions exist, there are three main differences between the industries in each city.
  • 3 Ways of Painting Porcelain

    Porcelain artists have a very basic choice to make before they begin to paint their pieces. The choice is whether to use 1) Youxiacai 釉下彩, painting under the glaze; 2) youzhongcai 釉中彩, painting in between glazes; 3) youshangcai 釉上彩, painting on the surface of the glaze. While it may seem unimportant, this choice will dictate what colours can be used, the final appearance of the painting, and even the surface texture of the piece.  Each method has its own history and uses.
  • 4 Things to Know About Chinese Porcelain

    Chinese porcelain manufactured in Jingdezhen is the original “hard paste” porcelain. All true porcelain – excluding bone china – is based on this recipe. The recipe for porcelain is a mixture of the materials kaolin 高岭土and petuntse 白墩子/瓷石 into a clay that is then shaped and fired at around 1300°C and over.
  • Li Changquan

    It was during the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 that the Li Brothers Studio first exhibited its Nixing clay art overseas. The Nixing clay vase won the gold medal for ceramic art, bringing attention to a little-known school of ceramic art known variously as Qinzhou pottery – after the town in Guangxi where it is practiced – and Nixing clay. Although not as well known outside of China, the clay has long been prized by a devoted subset of tea drinkers for its special properties.
  • Fanggu Porcelain

    Contemporary Jingdezhen porcelain owes its quality and appearance to generations of experimentation and adaptation, as well as to the retention of what is special and beautiful from earlier periods. This combination of tradition and innovation characterizes Jingdezhen porcelain. While retaining traditional techniques and patterns is important to the art of Jingdezhen porcelain, it is especially important to a specific class of Jingdezhen porcelain called “fanggu.”
  • Nixing Clay

    ​Nixing has a long history in China, however it has often been overlooked by the tea drinking community outside of the country. While much has been written online about Yixing Zisha and Chinese porcelain, very little has been said about this other ceramic art.
  • An introduction to Ruyao

    Ruyao originated in the late Song dynasty (around 700 years ago). The kiln was located in Ruzhou 汝州, hence the style became known as Ru Yao or “Ru Kiln.” There were 5 famous kilns in the Song Dynasty: Ru kiln, Guan Kiln, Ge kiln, Jun Kiln and Ding Kiln. Ru kiln was labeled, “top of the 5 kilns,” and was the official royal kiln, producing ceramics for the Emperor and his family.  What makes Ruyao antiques especially valuable was the short period that the kiln operated during the Song Dynasty - only around 20 years. Today only a total of 67 pieces from that period have survived. Reflecting its imperial origins, modern true Ruyao represents a form of sophisticated luxury in the tea world.
  • Jingdezhen Porcelain and the name China

    Every child in China learns that the country has been making porcelain ceramics as far back as the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 – 907), and that the small town of Jingdezhen 景德镇 has been the centre of this craft. While Chinese porcelain is also famous worldwide, few outside of China may know the importance of this town or have even heard its name.