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Finding the perfect tea to pair with your Zisha teapot.

Tea brewing, a very simple act, can also be a very sophisticated art. The decision of choosing which tea should be paired with which teapot may seem like an easy task at first, but is actually a deceptively complex undertaking. Tea lovers must be mindful when determining the perfect pair, as this will ultimately affect the outcome of the tea. In this article, we discuss a few vital characteristics in a teapot that affects the taste of the tea… I. Shape Square - When it comes to the making of a square zisha teapot, the clay must be well-proportioned as the difficulty and failure rate in this shape is high. Due the internal angle of the square, the tea cannot freely roll...

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The Effects of Kiln Temperature On Zisha (Part II)

There are several factors that affect the results of kiln firing. Amongst them are temperature and atmosphere. In this article, we will address the critical roles both the firing temperature and resulting atmosphere play in the formation of Zisha, and how both can ultimately determine its overall appearance and performance. Firing temperature primarily influences the level of sintering on the clay, which directly contributes to the sintering atmosphere of the kiln; the sintering atmosphere of the kiln plays an integral role in the overall coloring of the clay. Due to the compositional nature of zisha, firing temperatures are normally higher than average ceramic materials, ranging from 1000℃ to 1300℃, and as there are varying types of zisha, each will have...

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Why Experts Don't Talk About Firing Temperature (Part I)

Collectors often ask sellers about the firing temperature of a particular teapot they’re interested in - an unnecessary question that zisha experts and adept collectors will never bother to ask. This innocent question is frequently posed to sellers by inexperienced buyers as an unrealistic way to predetermine the quality and durability of a zisha teapot. Though it may seem practical to ask such a question at first (especially if it has been mentioned in one’s old trusty zisha book), in actuality, it holds little to no relevance when it comes to accessing a clay’s features and performance. Realistically, there are nuances in kiln firing that cannot simply be read and memorized, as it is not in the gaugeable ‘degrees’ that...

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Is ‘Old’ Clay Always a Better Clay?

‘Lao Zini’, ‘Lao Zhuni’, ‘Lao Duanni’ - “Lao” 老 or “old” clays are frequently echoed by eager zisha collectors, yet one can only wonder if they truly understand the context behind the word. Unsurprisingly, of course, zisha enthusiasts are not alone in finding “old” clay special, as there have been many merchants and craftsmen in the prolific zisha market who were just as quick to join and encourage the trend! It is for this very reason that misinformation on “old” clay have since spread like wildfire and further emboldened deceitful sellers to falsely designate any remotely aged clay as “old” or “lao”. So what, indeed, is “old” clay? Let’s clarify… I. From a geological perspective… The formation of zisha ore...

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Why the readily available Di Cao Qing is actually a rare clay

There are a limited number of mining areas where the magical zisha ore can be found in Yixing,and the best is from the famous Huang Long Shan: No. 1 mine, No. 2 mine, No. 3 mine, No. 4 mine, No. 5 mine, Tai Xi open-pit mine, Tai Xi mine and Bao Shan mine. However, amongst these mines, it is the prolific No. 4 mine of the Huang Long Shan mountain—also known as the “Holy Land” of Zisha—that vastly holds the highest quality zisha ores. One of the most precious ores found in this particular mine is the enigmatic Di Cao Qing (“bottom layer”) clay, a rare clay famously known to be the late Grandmaster Gu Jing Zhou’s favorite clay (and for...

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