The History of Yixing Purple Tea Pot
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一，About the origin of the Yixing Purple tea pot
Yixing,a picturesque city,is located on the Taihu Lake on Jiangsu province, China.The city is famous for its plentiful products,fertile land.rich resources and outstanding talents,Of the products,the most charming is ceramics.Based on the textual and archaeological researches in neolithic Age as far 5000 years ago,the forefathers of Yixing were engaged in the farming and the pottery marking.Recent years have often found some ruins of ancient pottery workshops and kilns in its territory,in Yixing Ding Shu Town,There are 5 neolithic site(5000 years ago),3 Han Dynasty Kiln site(Before206-A.D.220), 3 Six Dynasty Kilns(A.D.420-A.D581),9 Sui Dynasty,Tang Dynasty kilns(A.D.581-A.D.907),20 Song Dynasty,Yuan Dynasty kilns(A.D.960-A.D.1368).60 Ming Dynasty,Qing Dynasty kilns(A.D.1368-A.D.1911).One of the Tang Dynasty's Dragon kiln,lie east of Ding Shu Town,there are 700 square meter ,80 stere ,have quite fire ware ability,so Yixing purple tea pots was produced base long pottery tradition in Yixing.
Another important diathesis ,Yixing is a famous tea area in China ancient,one kind of Yixing tea (call:Yun Wu Tea)was as palace tea on Tang Dynasty early,The quantity is over 5000 kgs,On Tang Dynasty,There are ten thousands tea workers for pick tea every year, there are 30 tea factories,China' famousest tea master Mr Lu Yu come to Yixing for drink tea time after time on Tang Dynasty.
The most important diathesis is that rare purple clay was found in the mountain of Ding Shu Town in Yixing,The purple clay have very unique characteristic ,it is the best material for tea pot on this world.(Please read unique purple clay),in 1976,One Song Dynasty Dragon Kiln was found on Yiang Jiao Mountain of Ding Shu Town,many purple clay fragmentary purple tea pot pieces were unearthed,(please see pictures).It is also affirmed by Song Dynasty poem,some Song Dynasty’s poem mentioned purple clay tea pot,so it is accepted that Yixing purple clay tea pot was produced on Song Dynasty midterm time.but some specialists thinked it was produced on Ming Dynasty.Mr Zhou Gao Qi,one writer live on Ming Dynasty,who has writed <<Yang Xian Tea Pot series>>,(PS:Yixing was call"Yang Xian" in ancient>>,this the earlies book that special describe the originate and technology feature of yixing purple clay tea pot,with purple clay material.To the origins of purple tea pot,he told us:”one white foot monk who live in Jing Sha temple in Ding Shu,he like study pottery with potters,slowly original create simple and unique tea pot with purple clay for own enjoy it,(PS,there are many temples in China ancient,many monks enjoy tea use bowl on there,but it is very regret that people can not find his tea pot on this world)Mr Wu Yu Shan,a Jing Si(college student)in Zhen De Year Ming Dynasty(1514),Come to Jing Sha temple for his study, Gong Cun who his servant come to there also,in carefree time,Gong Cun study make purple tea pot under the monk,he imitated one old tree side the temple and made unique Gong Cun pot,(PS:This pot is collected in China History Museum now,the cover have losed,the cover was added by Qing Dynasty Master Wang Yu Ling,(please see picture), so people think Gong Cun is founder of yixing purple tea pot usual.
二，The developing of Yixing purple tea pot on Ming Dynasty
1965,one purple tea pot was unearthed in the ancient tomb in Nang Jing city,(see picture),the man of the tomb is Wu Jing,who was a eunuch of Ministry of Rites in Jia Jing Year Ming Dynasty(1533),1991,one purple tea pot was unearthed in a ancient well in the famous Nan Chan temple in Wuxi,this tea pot is very alike with that pot in Wu Jing tomb on the purple material and made technology.many porcelains of Zheng De year Ming Dynasty were unearthed together this pot.(see picture).
On early Ming Dynasty,the most famous masters are Zhao Liang,Dong Han,Yuan Chang,Shi Peng.they are live on Jia Jing year and Long Qing year in Ming Dynasty.Main design is Ti Liang Tea Pot.
From Wan Lie Year Ming Dynasty to Ming Dynasty last stage,Many masters were produced in China,The most famous is Mr Shi Da Bing(Shi Peng’s son),who has a very high status on that time,it isn’t easy to got his pot,even a great officer.
It was found only 7 pieces in China to really Shi Da Bing’s tea pot(don’t need argue it),there are only 15-20 pieces in abroad ,Shi Da Bing was very strict to made tea pot,the tea pot will be broken if it isn’t satisfy.Many master copied Shi Da Bing’s pot in Qing Dynasty,include some famous great masters.
Second famous master is Hui Meng Cheng in Ming Dynasty,other great masters are Li Mao Ling,Li Zhong Fang,Xu You Quan,Ou Zheng Cun,Shao Weng Jing,Shao Wen Ying,Jiang Bo Kua,Cheng Xing Qing,Cheng Guang PuCheng Jun Qing,Cheng Zi Qi,etc.
Tea culture happened change in Ming Dynasty also,the people replaced tea bowl with tea pot, replaced boil tea with make tea in hot water.replace the cake ferment tea with the bulk fresh tea.replace big tea pot of early Ming Dynasty with smaller tea pot due to small tea pot better keep the tea’s fragrance.the most of the people think Purple tea pot cut down those tea pot of silver, stannum, copper.The purple tea pot have become the need of the bookmans and scholar-bureaucrats.many of them have start collected the purple tea pots.
三，The thriving and prosperous of purple tea pot from Qing Dynasty to early the Repbulic of China.
Qing Dynasty is the gold era of the purple tea pot, although it is not as good as the porcelain tea ware from Jing De Town,but it’s designs are more rich than porcelain tea ware,showed it’s unique individuality and elegant demeanour.The decorate technology of the purple tea pot arrived at high level, besides carved calligraphy,there are clay painting,carved painting,colour glaze painting,basso-relievo, stack clay painting,stick clay painting, mill clay painting, inlay clay, inlay gold, hollow out, bind up gold, bind up silver, bind up lacquer, burnish,etc.more purple tea pot have entered to the palace where the emperor lived as the articles of tribute in early Qing Dynasty.(In Fact,Purple tea pot have already entered to the palace in Wan Lie year Ming Dynasty(1570),because of one tea pot by Shi Da Bing made was found in the Imperial Palace),
Kang Xi,one earliest emperor in Qing Dynasty,he are very like purple tea pot and tea bowl,but he like add colour enamel on it for let they are more showily,and he refused the seal of makers on the purple tea pot,only showed the title of the emperor's reign,This rule was continued to Yong Zheng emperor and Qian Long emperor.so you will can not see the seal of maker to the palace purple tea pot in early Qing Dynasty,only have the title of an emperor's reign.(please see the purple tea ware that Kang Xi emperor used ever)
Yong Zheng emperor were very interested in the designs of purple tea pot,he commanded myself imitate the designs of purple tea pot to make porcelain tea ware,silver tea ware, copper tea ware,(it was proved by the original record in Yong Zheng 11 year,No.3360), although Yong Zheng emperor live only 13 years,but there are many Registers about purple tea pot in his record.
The most of the palace purple tea pots are Qiang Long emperor era,Qiang Long emperor like drink tea on his whole life, even if on the time when he went on his six time tour of inspection.He said ever:”The emperor can not stop tea to any day),so he more like purple tea pots,(please see the purple tea pot that Qian Long emperor used),he ordered carve his poem on the purple tea pot,so the most of the palace purple tea pot showed Qian Long’peom on them in Qian Long era.Qian Long emperor ordered also made special tea ark for put purple tea ware when tour.(please see pictures).Qiang Long emperor advocated his people use purple tea pot,so purple tea pot were very fashionable on Qiang Long era and a long time after Qian Long.
After Qiang Long,more purple tea pots entered to the palace,it was not already restricted to the seal of makers,so you can easy find many purple tea pots with the seal of famous great master in the the Imperial Palace to those palace purple tea pots that after Qian Long Emperor.
In Kang Xi emperor 24 year(1685),Kong Xi emperor agreed make businee with oversea,so purple tea pot export to Europe with Chinese tea,quickly purple tea pot was attracted and welcome by Europe people,they praised it as “Red Porcelain”, early or late, Portugaler, Hollander,German made their pottery tea ware copy this “Red Porcelain”,(Please see pictures)in 1711,Mr Bo Te Ge,one famous potter from German,succeed made 2000 pcs red pottery tea pot imitate yixing purple teapot,and writed disquisition <<Red sand porcelain>>,There is one Yixing Purple tea pot that was collected in the state museum of denmark,which was used by the king of denmark in 1674.Yixing purple tea pot was exported to Japan, East-South Asia, Central America etc contries on 17 century and 18 century.
In early days of Qing Dynasty,The most famous great master is Mr Cheng Ming Yuan,it was recorded in <<Yang Xian Famous potters>> by Wu Qian in 1786(PS:Yixing is call “Yang Xian in Ancient),Wu Qian think that Cheng Ming Yuan’s tea pot is the best on one hundred years history,he was exceed all tea pots of three era, it was equal with Shi Da Bing.It has been proved ,the carved Calligraphy on the Cheng Ming Yuan’s tea pots were writed by famous calligrapher Mr Cao Qian Rang,this modus operandi was continued to now all along,many famous literators,painters,and politicians like to writed their epigraph on the purple tea pot for rise it’s value.even they invited some great master to their home for made purple tea pot for them,let the masters enjoy those antique they collected,
Other great masters are Zheng Nin Hou,Wang Nan Ling,Yu Rong,Shao Yu Ting,Shao Xi Mao,Cheng Ying Qian,Cheng Han Wen,Yang Ji Cu,Zhang Huai Reng,Yang Ji Yuan,Yang You Lan,Shao Ji Zu,Shao De Xing,Cheng Weng Bo,Cheng Weng Ju,Cheng Ci Wai,Xu Weng Long etc.
In the medium-term and later period in Qing Dynasty,the most exponent is Man Sheng pot that was cooperate made by Cheng Man Sheng and Yang Peng Nian.Yang Peng Nian made pot, epigraphed by Cheng Man Sheng who was a famous calligrapher and painter. so the “Man Sheng pot”was very rare on then, afterward,Yang Bao Nian(Yang Peng Nian’s brother)and Yang Feng Nian(Yang Peng Nian’s sister)help Yang Peng Nian made “Man Sheng Pot”, usually Cheng Man Sheng’s seal is on the bottom of the pot,the seal of Yang Peng Nian is on the bottom of the cover and handle,his seal is smaller than Cheng Man Sheng’s.We think it is not candid to Yang Peng Nian who a famous master.
Another great master is Shao Da Heng,his famous tea pot is the Eight Diagrams bundle bamboo pot and fish dragon pot,Mr Huang Yu Ling is a outstanding master after Shao Da Heng,
Other masters are Wu Yue Ting,Ge Ming Xiang,Feng Cai Xia,Deng Kui,Jiang Yu Ling,Zhu Shi Mei,Shao Er Quan,Sheng Xi,Shao She Da,Shao You Ting,He Xing Zhou,Wu A Kun,Sheng Rui Tian,Jing Shi Hun,Fan Da Sheng,Cheng Bo Ting,Fan Die En,Cheng Shou Fu,Jiang Wan Feng,Jiang Zheng Xian,Shi Bao Fen etc.
On the last stage of Qing Dynasty to the early days of the Repbulic of China,it is a prosperous period to yixing purple tea pot, some ethical capitalist start to rised for replace the feudal household,mainly in Shanghai. Those dealers appeared in Shanghai,for deal yixing purple tea pot,they made-order purple tea pot in Yixing,as a result,it bring on some great masters were come forward,
The most accomplishment are Cheng Shou Zheng,Yu Guo Liang,and Pei Shi Ming,Cheng Shou Zheng’s De ball pot and archaize pot were took gold award on the Panama international exhibition in 1919,he is the first master who took gold award on the international in purple history.Through the hard work by zisha pottery artists and masters of different generations,the zisha pottery tea pot present their rich culture and artistic quality to world and gain very great prestige by showing their special charm.For example,at the beginning of the 20th century,they were awarded first prize at Panama International Exposition,and excellence and gold prize at Chicago Exposition,London Arts Exhibition and Philadelphia International Arts Exposition
It is developmental still to purple tea pot before the War of Resistance Against Japan(1937),according to the record,there are 40 sites dragon kilns for special fire purple tea pot in the eare of Ding Shan,Shu Shan in 1919,it rised to 63 site in 1929,it rised again to 76 sites in 1936,1936 is the blossomest year in the period of the Repbulic of China,the fired kiln time was 4740 time for one year,produced two million piece purple tea pots.the purple tea pot’s shop were set up in many cities,such as Shanghai,Hang Zhou,Wuxi,Tiang Jing,Qing Dao etc cities.even some branch stores were set up on Japan, Singapore, Filipine.they main are Cheng Ding He Company,Wu De Sheng Company,Tie Hua Xuan Company,Ge De Company, and Li Yong Company.there are two seals at least to those purple tea pots in this period,one is the seal of maker,another is the seal of the shop.
四，The status after from 1937
when the War of Resistance Against Japan(1937),yixing purple tea pot product was destroyed ,many masters have to go into exile,the most kilns were desolation.
After 1949,the people were liberated,the product of the yixing purple tea pot was renewed,many masters returned to yixing,the state factories wer set up for special produce purple tea pots,the designs of the purple tea pot grow to hundres kinds,many excellent craftsmans were appeared,the most famous great master is Mr Gu Jing Zhou(1915-1992),one of his purple tea pot was sold out on USD65,000 on Macao in 1997,this is the highest price to one purple tea pot on the modern times.Mr Gu Jing Zhou is appellatived as "leading scholar of the times"
Another famous great master is Mrs Jiang Rong(1915-),who the most famous master live in Yixing now.Her purple tea pot was the State Department premier'gift when visited to oversea in 1957.
Other great masters are Xu Xou Tang,Xu Hang Tang,Wang Yian Xian,Lv Yao Cheng,Tan Quan Hai,they are the rule China industrial arts great masters by the China State Department awarded.the price of their tea pot is over USD1,000 at least!from 1980 up to now,Yixing,the artists of older generation,with the vigor of their youth still existing,make their artworks still richer in substances and forms,while the young and mid-aged artists never stop making exploration and creation in styles and shapes,and this presents one vast panorama of prosperity in Yixing's ceramic business,like a hundred flowers blossoming in a garden