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…