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.
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.
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.