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Teapots are ideal treasures when it comes to brewing colourful and flavorful drinks with excellent smells. Due to their flexibility and efficiency, companies across the world have integrated technology in the teapot design to come up with a wide range of variants. At the centre of these variants is the popular Chinese Yixing Tea Sets—noble sets of teapots with long strings of historical records. 

More About Yixing Tea Sets ▼

What is Yixing?

Yixing tea sets, also called Yixing Clay Teapots, are sets of traditional teapots that originate from China. They are made with natural clay that is produced mainly in the South Eastern parts of Jiangsu Province. 

The word Yixing is derived from Chinese layman’s language. It is the name of a county-level city under the prefecture-level city of Wuxi located in the southern part of Jiangsu province. This city is brought to the world map for its traditional Yixing Clayware, popularly known as Zisha ware. 

Residents of Yixing city are ideal artisans. They have adopted the art of pottery in every aspect of their life. They not only perceive Zisha teapots as brewing vessels, but also a legendary jewel of beauty designed to preserve their culture. 

The modesty and simplicity of Yixing clay pot have earned it a lot of respect on a global scale. Tea enthusiasts worldwide value its composition, artisanship and efficiency. To Yixing residents, every pot represents a soul. 

 

Historical records of Yixing tea sets

The extraordinary Yixing Teapots have a long historical record. According to scholars, they date back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The first pot of its kind appeared in the tenth century. Chinese believed that a monk at the Golden Sand Temple made it. However, during the Song Dynasty, the pots remained uncommon. Only a few people owned and used them. 

Five Centuries down the line, Yixing ware found their routes across China. During the years (1368-1644), commonly known as the Ming dynasty, the iconic Yixing bowls were the most popular. Tea drinking revolved around the use of these bowls daily.  

In the 19th century, wealthy merchants and scholars adopted Yixing clay pots in their general life. Not before long, the pot found its routes to the world trade. It was traded for other products from Europe and other parts of the world. 

Due to its outstanding features, Europeans for so long could not design a pot with a parallel level of efficiency. It was celebrated all over Europe. As a result, Yixing pottery developed into a nascent industry. The Zisha pots were porous. They absorbed the smell of the type of tea used in them. As a result, the British Empire adopted the science of using one pot for a specific type of tea. As a result, the daily sales of the product increased a bunch. Finally, homeowners across the world adopted the brewer vessel in their daily tea preparation lives. 

 

Types of Yixing Clay

There are various types of Yixing clay. The type, design and the colour to make out of your Yixing pot depends on the type of clay used. Some of the most popular types of the naturally occurring resource include Zini, Duanni, and Hongni. 

1. Zini

Zini is the Chinese name for the purple Yixing clay. It is a word that relates to “rock within a rock”. Generally, Zini is the most popular of all the Yixing clay types. It is formed due to the high pressure that is imminent in the clay mine. As a result, you must dig deeper inside the mine to get a fair share of this wonderful resource. 

2. Duanni

Duanni is the layman’s name for the green Yixing clay. This type of clay is formed at the surface level of the mine. Due to its scarcity, it is primarily used for the beautification of the pot. 

One feature that stands out in this type of Yixing clay is its ability to stand low firing temperatures. Most potters use on the surface of various pots to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the vessels. Benan, a popular form of Duanni is popular for its value in designing the light-yellow pear-skin Yixing teapot. Otherwise, Duanni is tender than its counterparts. 

3. Hongni or Zunni

Hongni is the Chinese name for the red Yixing clay. It is the most scarce of all the types. Extraction of Hongni demands deeper digging since it lies at the bottom of the mine. This makes it the most valuable and the most sought after. 

Yixing potters hardly use this type of clay for the overall pot structuring. Mostly, they use it on the surface of specific Yixing teapot models such as the Purple clay pot. Even the Shuaping pot no longer contain much of this clay.

Having a red clay does not mean that the pot will be red. The shade of the resultant pot is relative to the composition of the iron in the clay. Hongni is always used for the purple or red teapot. 

 

Care instructions

Just like the porcelain or the glass teapots, Yixing Tea Sets are delicate. They must be handled with sheer cautiousness to avoid cracking or breakage. The value of your money relates to how properly you maintain the pots. 

The basic reality is your pot will develop a unique fragrance with time. With better seasoning, care and maintenance, this fragrance make the brewing process even better. 

Once you have acquired Yixing tea set, the first thing to do is to season it. This is achievable through four simple processes.

  • Immerse the teapot in water and wash it gently using a brush
  • Dry the pot, pour some warm water into it and add your favourite type of tea leaves 
  • Gently boil the tea leaves to remove any odd smell
  • Take out the pot, pour the tea leave and dry the pot for the first brewing session

During the brewing process:

  1. Allow for regular heating through pouring warm water first into the vessel. This is necessary to avoid cracking that results in irregular expansion inside the walls of the teapot
  2. Use one pot for a specific type of tea to avoid odd smells
  3. Do not be worried about the glossiness in the inner surface of the pot. It is as a result of sedimentation that occurs with time. Just clean the pot normally and continue with your normal brewing process. 

During cleaning:

  1. Pour out the remaining tea and use a tea cloth to wipe out all the tea leaves
  2. Use warm water during washing—usually immediately after each brewing process
  3. Wipe the teapot inside and out and place it upside down to dry up

 

Conclusion

Yixing Tea Sets are ideal treasures when carefully maintained. The teapots even grow more beautiful with time. Just make sure that they are not tainted with oil stains. Otherwise, they have good value for money and offer edgy performance in any type of tea preparation. 

Start your day right with a cup of tea