The Art of Shaping and Making Wares with Applied Decoration

People have formed new demands with teapot under the modern living style and prosperous tea culture. The art of purple clay teapot has earned a good name not only with its practical applicability, but also with its content, spirit, and beautiful appearance. The art of teapot has demonstrated an influential ability through its form, spirit, and personality. Purple clay teapot has performed its fullest in the face of art.

The art of purple clay teapot has formed a series of unique and reasonable production through the execution and improvement of technology. Potters have received serious skill training to express their emotion, experience, life, and concept through the application of clay material and tool. Potters have demonstrated their creativity in their own style with unique art language. Purple clay contains meditative concept of art and design that should be included in the list of collectors.

The style and gesture of purple clay teapot should be stressed first, then teapot body that is formed with focal point, line, surface, and body. For example, the arrangement of mouth, handle, spout, base, foot, lid, and a coordinate and balanced proportion. The following detail should also be attended the structure of profile, the producing technique of shade, the relation between solid and void, etc. The viewpoint of collectors and creators will reach a common ground and enjoy the true meaning of purple clay art only if they can share the same concept of beauty.


Due to the requirement of applicability, all of the Chinese wares are formed with the art of spout, neck, shoulder, belly, and base, therefore, the proportion, relation, change of formation, connection of each part on teapot are the fundamental elements of creation.}

There is no exception for purple clay, in the appreciation of a teapot, the total form comes foremost in consideration. Detailed parts including mouth, neck, shoulder, belly, foot, base, cover, knob, spout and handle are treated in subordination to the total form. The details should be designed to harmonize with the whole, and appropriate treatment of these parts will be able to highlight distinctive features of the form.

l. Detailed parts of a teapot should be treated with equal care and clarity, as they all contribute to the effect of a unified and refined form. The turn of angle at the mouth, base and foot should be presented clearly. The interior and exterior rims of the mouth should be sharp and crisp, just as the base should be clearly differentiated from the foot. The reason is that these parts mark a change in outline and in shape of a teapot.

2. The recessed cover and the pressed cover produce rich liner rhythms, while the truncated cover forms an integral part of the teapot.

3. In order to create stylistic uniformity with the teapot, the knob of the teapot is sometimes a miniature reproduction of the body in its upright or inverted form. At other times, the form of the knob is an extended outline of the cover or the body or modelled in the shape of a bridge whose shape matches harmoniously with the form of body. Designers usually utilize the relevant subject to make an interesting knob with image to receive a better coordination of the creation. For example, the teapot with the theme of Tree Frog and Lily at Night.

4. The spout and handle of the teapot are visual extensions of the shoulder rib that influence the balance of teapot structure. Inappropriate placement and proportions of teapot structure, and these parts will move the teapot's central gravity away from the central axis, upsetting the balance of form and the stability of the vessel.

Therefore, in addition to the integrated visual balance of spout, handle, and body, the space occupied by the spout and the handle should be on two sides of the teapot symmetrically for the effect of grace and stability. For example, the "Blast Teapot" of He Daohong. Sometimes, the handle and spout slope towards the same direction for the effect of balance and ingenuity. On the other hand, the balance of spout and handle is not stressed, instead, the contrast of their curves is the key feature for demonstration. A visual balance of the curve from spout to mouth of the teapot is created for the stability of the teapot taking as a whole.

5. A teapot can have its center of gravity placed in its upper, middle or lower part according to its form. A teapot of small height and a wide base has a center of gravity resting near the base of the vessel. In this case, the form enhances the sense of stability, for example, the creation of Lu Yaochen. On the other hand, a teapot of greater height and smaller base has a center of gravity towards its upper part. Its form should convey a sense of lightness and vivacity, for example, the creation of He Daohong.

6. The stability of teapot is influenced by the base of teapot. The teapot in stone weight shape has a profile of an upright triangle with the center of gravity placed at the base, the form, however, is enlivened by the three boss legs, which offset the weight of a flat base. Take the overhead handle teapot of Wang Yinxian for example, the central gravity of the teapot is at its bottom, however, a relationship of solid and void is formed in the image of overhead handle. The teapot is given a great style with personality through the fine touch of a graceful body.


The art of purple clay teapot is presented with the gesture of height, low, chubby, thin, hard, soft, square, round, etc. The concept of the art is ,,the square is never the one of the same square while the round always varies,,, of which, it is divided into the category of styling art and decorating art. Plain geometric ware and vein line are the main items of styling art while applied decoration is the main item of decorating art. The artist of purple clay teapot has created the ware with a three-dimension body through the application of focal point, line. and surface.

1. Plain Geometric Ware

All plain geometric wares follow this pattern: they feature radial symmetry when viesed square and axial symmetry when contemplated from above. To facilitate the making and the practical use, most of the purple clay teapots are modelled in round or symmetrical forms, with the center of gravity resting on the central axis of the vessel. That is, a vertical line extended from the center of gravity resting on the central axis of the vessel. That is . a vertical line extended from the center of gravity will meet the center of the teapot's base, for example, the hexagonal teapot of Wang Yinxian. The viewer of purple clay teapots react rather relaxed and peaceful in a stable environment for production. The stabilized vision has fulfilled the fundamental requirement of "stability".

The art of making plain geometric ware is the easiest to learn but hardest to master. The plain geometric ware is completely exposed because of its simplicity, and unadomed because of its plainness. The slightest divergence will become more glaring than with products of greater intricacy. Therefore, a perfect plain geometric ware cannot be created without the knowledge of outline, line, volume, proportion, and manufacturing technique.

Another feature of the plain geometric ware is its large, smooth and plain surface which provides ideal space for pottery creation. Thus, the combination of artisans and teapot art has formed the good saying of "the carving makes the pot priceless, while teapot carries the carving down through the ages." For example, the compressed round teapot of Gu Jingzhou is decorated with the paint of Fan Jen.

All plain geometric wares, be they historic or of modern times, are graceful and complete with precise structure, harmonious proportion, coordinate rhythm between solid and void, and subtle strength. It is a great combination of content, formality, and fonction.

2. Vein Line

Artists take advantage of the exceptional advantages that purple clay pottery contains unique raw material which is fine and plastic, unglazed surface and bare biscuit. These features provide conditions for creating the light and shade of veins, and facilitate the expression of vein effect on a purple clay ware. Therefore, with the concept of ''the combination of points and the lines,, and ,,surface cutting,'' artists of successive dynasties took advantage of the wonderful vein lines and the harmonious cutting method to symmetrize the structure of purple clay pottery. The design of purple clay pottery requires the width of lines to be appropriate, the turning explicit and the lines themselves lively, for example, the "teapot with mallow and wind design" ofJiang Jenshong. Only when angles and lines are made explicitly and the concave-convex relation symmetrical can the admirers feel a perfect combination of substance and space, for example, the creation of GuJingzhou.

The body, lid, mouth, and spout of the teapot are in the shape ofhexagonal. Especially, when molding a teapot, potters should see to it that the lid fits the body tightly and also turns around smoothly, which means that if you turn the lid, it always dovetails with the body. When used for decorations, vein lines are required to suit the theme of the teapot.

In addition, as the veins produce a strong melodious and rhythmic effect, then hand touching the veined ware will have a strange feeling - the feeling of order and measured tempo. How they are treated, whether made bright or dark, wide or narrow, concave or protruding, reserved or unrestrained, dynamic or static, is closely related to the theme. Appropriate decorations will make a purple clay pottery ware look rich, forceful and vigorous. They will give the work more artistic appeal by making it bright but not dull, gaudy but not vulgar, for example, the "teapot with the design of prunes and plate" by He Daohong.

When decorating round and square vessels, the vein lines can form various and lively geometric shapes, such as circle, square, trapezium and triangle with a great space for creation.

Within modern culture and creative concept, the styling of purple clay teapot has broken the traditional mold, for example, the design of hexagonal, pyramid, polygon, etc. for a great impression at sight. No matter what a massive variety the purple clay teapot has presented, it has never failed the fondamental requirement of "stability."

3. Applied Decoration

Apply the image of fruit, flower, tree, insect, fish, bird, animal directly ftom nature to create a great teapot. Artists have expressed their idea through decorating pottery with the aforesaid images partly or totally, for example, the pine, bamboo, di prunes teapot with overhead handle by He Daohong.

The inspiration of the image of appliances in daily life is for the creation of pottery; for example, teapot in stone weight shape, jar, can, cylinder, square, etc.

The "Konchen teapot" of Gu Jingzhou, "Pine, bamboo, &prunes teapot" of Jiang Rong, and "Prunes trunk teapot" of Wang Yinxian are all expressed in a non-symmetrical body shape for an effect of integration and diversification.

Artists must be able to demonstrate the theme of teapot with various points, Iines, surface through a flowing-vision and a consecutive change. It is a combination of contrast and supplement for a better appearance and an energetic life of purple clay teapot.

Purple clay pottery is with diversified gesture that can be deemed as the treasure of styling art. It is an accumulation of creativity through years of practice and revision. Bases on the foundation, the art of purple clay pottery is becoming perfect. However, it is not different from the other fields of art that skills and understanding remain two most important features for success.

The combination of beautiful body, meditated spirit, and complicate content is the one and only way to get into the paradise of art and to own a priceless teapot.