5. June 2017




Pottery 陶器 [táo qì] an important Neolithis invention. Made from clay burned in kilns at 700-800 ℃, it is hard in texture with or without a glazed surface. Common tea sets include the Zisha 紫砂 pottery (also called boccaro or purple-clay and its firing temperature up to 1050℃~1200℃) and hard pottery.



Zisha Teapot

Zisha 紫砂 [zǐ shā] is famous of high in iron and silicon contents, featuring high plasticity, the glossier surface the more useages of brewing tea. Tea sets made from purple-clay is not normally glazed. A finished product is primarily purple, thus it is named. This pottery can be divided into different colors, such as purple-brown “purple clay” which is in amaranth or light purple; gray-yellow “green clay” in gray or gray-blue; vermeil “red clay” in red-brown. Purple-clay tea set has a long history in China. Su Shi, the great scholar of the Song Dynasty, had designed a pot with handle, called “Dongpo Pot with Loop Handle”. In the Ming Dynasty, making loose tea in a small pot was popular, which led to the development of purple-clay pots.



Handmade Purple-clay Teapot

The purple-clay tea set is produced in Dingshu Township, Yixing, Jiangsu Province. GongChun was the first potter who chiseled his name on the Shuliu Pot (Tree Burl Pot). Following his lead were Dong Han, Zhao Liang, Yuan Chang, Shi Peng, Shi Dabin, Li Zhongfang, Xu Youquan, Hui Mengchen, Chen Mingyuan, Yang Pengnian and Shao Daheng during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Today there are many famous potters in Yixing with their own unique styles. Purple-clay tea sets may or may not inscribed or painted. Because of high prices  of full-handmade teapots, potters also use some moulds to save time and lower prices, so called half-handmade Zisha teapots.



Yixing Artists

Fan Yueqin is one of Mater Ji Yishun 季益顺 (video) ‘s students, the national senior artist and craftsman and member of China Association of Arts and Crafts. She was born in the Fan Clan pottery family of West Village of Yixing Dingshuzhen in 1968, her childhood suffering from polio caused her physical disability. In her 30 years of Yixing artistic creation, her works are famous for “new texture, deep connotation, lasting appeal, excellent selection of raw materials”, she got the national senior artist and craftsman title lately in 2017.

On behalf of China, she participated the 2016 International Disabled Vocational Skills Competition in Paris, France. Her husband, Ding Junhong is also a super famous purple-clay artist also as one national senior artist and craftsman,  his teapots now could be sold over 100-200 thousand RMB (photo).




Porcelain 瓷器 [cí qì] is one of the greatest inventions of ancient China. In the late East Han Dynasty, Chinese has mastered the porcelain burning technique, thus ancient China was named the “Porcelain Country”. Porcelain chould be fired in kilns above 1200’C, and tea sets have varied types, designs and colors. Porcelain tea sets can be divided into the white porcelain, celadon, blue-and-white porcelain, black porcelain, painted porcelain and color-glazed porcelian.



White, White-and-blue, Color-glazed and Painted Porcelain

The Chinese porcelain is pure white, translucent and smooth. It is mainly produced in Jingde Town, Jiangxi Province, Dehua, Fujian Province, Chaozhou, Guangdong Province, Liling, Hunan Province and Tangshan, Hebei Province. Porcelain tea wares from the porcelain capital of “Jing De Zhen”, which has been produced porcelain for over 1700 years. Jing De Zhen porcelain has been created its own four special features, those are : “White like jade, bright as a mirror, thin as paper, sound like a chime.” The technique of combining painting  and porcelain firing first has started in the Tang and Song dynasties and became popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Since gaoline of Jingdezhen has more mineral substances and firing temperature up to 1340°C, Jingdezhen porcelain belongs to high temperature porcelain (above 1200°C), other places’ porcelains can not compare, for example,   cheap Dehua porcelain is low temperature porcelain only around 700-800°C.

White porcelain and blue-and-white porcelain tea sets are the most popular, teapot, appreciation cup, fairness cup, tureen, and coaster have the largest varieties, designs and colors. White porcelain tea set can set off a true tea color and taste, and display its natural beauty.




Celadon 青瓷 [qīng cí] is famous for its exquisite textrure, smooth lines, beautiful shape and glazed layer, the most famous is in Longquan, Zhejiang Province. In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), celadon was fired by brothers Zhang Shengyi and Zhang Sheng’er’s Ge Kiln and Di Kiln, it had reached a high artistic standard.


Today, new breakthroughs have been made to improve the Longquan traditional celadon process, including celadon thin base, underglazed color celadon, and a combination of celadon and white porcelain. Celadon tea set is valuable, as it is rare and very popular in Japan and Korea. Making tea in a celadon tea set sets off a clear green color of green tea liquid. “Cracked surface effect” celadon teawares can absorb and accumulate tea liquid color into teawares’ surfaces after daily usages.



Black Porcelain

Jian kiln black glaze is a kind of crystallization glaze, which belongs to lime glaze with high iron content. Therefore, it has the basic conditions for firing black glaze. At the same time, the lime glaze has strong viscosity, and its biggest feature is that it is easy to flow in high temperature. Therefore, there is often glaze hanging at the bottom of the outer wall of the Jian kiln bowl, and the opening of the bowl is thin along the glaze layer, which is brownish red, and some are similar to the awn opening. The basic characteristics of the body quality of the kiln black porcelain are: the section color is black or gray black, black brown, which is caused by the high iron content. The body is thick and hard, and there is a metal sound when knocking. It is commonly known as “iron tire”, with a thick feel. It contains more sand particles, so the tire quality is rough, and the feel of exposed tire is also rough. From the analysis of firing process, the Jian kiln black porcelain is fired at high temperature. If the tire clay is washed too fine, the ware is easy to deform. It is precisely because the carcass of Jian bowl in Jian kiln black porcelain is thick and contains small pores in the carcass, which is conducive to the insulation of tea soup and is suitable for the demand of tea fighting.

“To set off  white foams of tea liquid, a black porcelain tea cup is the best” The black porcelain tea sets were praised highly during the period of the Song Dynasty for the Whisked Tea ceremony 点茶 [diǎn chá], especially Black Cup 黑盏 [hēi zhǎn] also called Heaven Eye Cup 天目盏 [tiān mù zhǎn], which was produced in the Jian Kiln of Fujian Province. It has a thick lighly glazed porcelain body, after firing, porcelain could display many different designs: rabbit  hair (photos), oil drops and  partridge….


Ancient Kiln 古窑 [gǔ yáo]

Ancient kiln 古窑 [gǔ yáo],  a  ceramic kiln fired by wood is called 柴窑 [chái yáo],  kilns  were developing  in  Chinese history, Dragon Kiln 龙窑 in Song Dynasty, Steamed Bun Kiln 馒头窑   in  Yuan Dynasty  and Gourd Kiln 葫芦窑 in Ming Dynasty  from  their shapes. Read Blog



Iron Teaware

This method of preparing Tea, is good for dark teas (fermented Pu’er, Hei Brick and Fu Brick etc.), the water is boiled in an Iron kettle 铁壶 [tiě hú], that makes it taste like spring water and keeps the high temperature to infuse more fragrance, color and flavour of the Tea. Use an Iron Kettle is very healthy for our body, we need lots of iron to stay healthy and build a strong immune system.


Glass Teaware

Glass tea set started late in China, but developed quickly. Glass tea set normally is colorless with high transparency and high temperature resistant performance. It is perfect for brewing tender shoot teas, such as high-quality green tea, yellow tea and white tea, it is also good for appreciating tea. The drawback of glassware is its quick conductivity and fragility. Glass tea set started late in China, but developed quickly. Glass tea set normally is colorless with high transparency and high temperature resistant performance. It is perfect for brewing tender shoot teas, such as high-quality green tea, yellow tea and white tea, it is also good for appreciating tea. The drawback of glassware is its quick conductivity and fragility.



Tea Tools, Tea Towl, Tea Boat

Tea brush- Cha Xian is usually made of bamboo. It is made by tying thin bamboo wires into a bundle and adding a handle. The tea set necessary for the “whisking tea” of Chinese tea art in the Song Dynasty is also called “tea fighting” because the customs often bet on the victory or defeat with the skill of whisking tea. In the Song Dynasty, the fine tea powder screened was put into the bowl and injected with boiling water. At the same time, the tea brush was quickly stirred to beat the tea soup to make it foaming, and the foam floated on the soup surface. The standard of superb tea skills is that the color of tea soup is fresh and white, and the tea foam stays for a long time. From the court to the market, it is often used to bet on the victory or defeat. Tea whisking in the Song Dynasty was introduced into Japan and developed into today’s Japanese tea ceremony Chado Sadō. Its main operation and utensils still follow the norms of the Song Dynasty. Tea brush was also introduced into Japan and has been used and developed to this day. After the Ming Dynasty, Chinese people used loose tea to make tea. The skill of whisking tea with tea powder was only passed down in Japan, and tea brush was still used only in Japan.

Tea tool set 茶道组 [chá dào zǔ] includes six tolls for tea ceremony performance: tool holder, tea tongs, tea funnel, tea spoon, tea needle and tea stick, normally made of bamboo or wood. There are also stainless steel tea tongs. Tool holder is used for holding tea tong, tea funnel, tea spoon, tea needle and tea stick; tea tong for holding the hot cups or picking out tea dregs; tea funnel for placing on a pot mouth to widen and prevent tea leaves from spilling; tea spoon for taking out tea from packages to place into a tea holder; tea needle for cleaning teapot spouts; tea stick taking out tea from tea holder.


Tea towel, also known as tea cloth, Cha Jin or Cha Bu, is made of hemp, cotton and other fibers. The main function of tea towel is to dry the teapot. Before drinking tea, wipe the miscellaneous water left in the teapot from the bottom of the tea tray, or wipe the tea drops dripping on the table. It should be placed on the table between the tea tray and the tea people.


Tea boat, also known as tea saucer or cup saucer, evolved from bowl saucer, which is different from tea tray. In ancient times, it was a popular dish for holding tea cups among Han people. It began in the Southern Dynasty and gradually increased in the Tang Dynasty. Its purpose is to bear the tea cup to prevent hot hands. Later, because of its shape like a boat, it was named tea boat. The tea boat has dish shape and bowl shape, in which the teapot is placed. When it is filled with hot water, it can be used for heating the teapot and the cup. It can also be used for nourishing the teapot. The tea tray is used to hold the teapot and cup. Commonly used is a combination of the two-layer tea boat, that is, porous tea tray placed on top of the tea boat. This kind of tea tray came into being because the brewing process of Oolong tea was complicated. From the beginning, the teapot was drenched with hot water, the double deck tea boat can make the water flow to the lower layer, so as not to pollute the table. Cha Hai is composed of a tray and a leaky plate, on which a teapot and a teacup are placed, so that when pouring tea liquid on the teapot, the water will not overflow from the tray. This Cha Hai was bought back from France to China. It is well preserved and has a huge shape, which is rare in domestic tea sets.



Tea books

Tea-Book Archive – Liu – Tea & Art Shop (liu-tea-art.com)



The art of mending broken ceramics 锔艺 [jū yì]