The photos above are taken, at different angles, with the intention to enable you to scrutinize it if you wish to. You may click at the respective photo to enlarge it. Each and every of them reflects the different type of zisha ("purple" clay) , shape, color and its craftsmanship. Proper scrutiny of each of them will reveal the maker's competency skills, talent and creativity - that will give you a real sensation and adoration. No surprise to me that some collectors willingly to offer high prices for the pieces they desired.
One noticeable fact of zisha is its' unique characteristics. Its' porous nature enables the teapot to absorb the essence of tea well. As the teapot becomes seasoned, especially when nurtured over time, the essence of tea captured by the teapot will accentuate the character of subsequent brews. Drinkers will enjoy having different taste from each brew - that's the natural beauty of it - which you may find similar effects in other materials.
Apart from the above, Zisha has all other characteristics as follow:
Now, you know why the zisha teapots play a central role in the art of Chinese tea. This is so important that lots of makers spend times to produce variety of distinctive shape with different themes and crafted beautifully.
- It remains highly porous even after being fired at temperatures of exceeding 1000˚C. However, if it were fired at compromised lower temperatures, it will then produce lower quality teapots that emit the taste and smell of clay into the brew.
- It is also able to hold water without seepage.
- It is structurally strong for its function and glazing is not needed ( I will tell you at a later stage).
- It is able to sustain sudden and big temperature change.
- It offers an excellent balance between flexibility and firmness (due to its high iron content). After dying, it will shrink nominally.
- The flexibility of the clay allows the tea pot be easily crafted into attractive shapes and designs.
Most of the tea lovers prefer the unglazed clay ones, not only because it has a wonderful effect on the Chinese tea, but they will nurture the tea pot to naturally glaze by pouring hot tea on its surface during their tea sessions. This glazing effect will gradually take effect over a certain period of times. By then, the pot will fetch a much higher price compared with its original position especially among collectors.
However, most of these tea pot makers seldom neglect its primary functional role. The bottom line of these tea pots makers is to deliver good quality tea in term of aroma and taste of the respective tea leaves. Well designed tea pots will not only enable you to pour out the tea smoothly well from the pot, but also enable you to do so even at varying speeds and angles of your pour. That's mean no tea should drip down from other parts than its spout. As such, it is also not wrong to say that the teapot is a product of the applied art.
Lately, there has been an huge increase in demand of such zisha teapots. As a result, the prices have increased tremendously from a few dollars to thousands for a single pot. It goes without saying, its quality has also improved to match its price. Better quality control have been put in place at every level of processes and those do meet the quality will then be rejected and smashed immediately after they were taken out from the kiln.
Thanks for taking your precious time to read this article and trust it is worth more than your time spent.
Please feel free to pass off this blog to your circle of friends who are pursuing of brewing a good tea. Do share with me your experience either through email or comment, I am more than happy to learn from you.
Stay tuned and look forward to hearing from you,