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Zi Sha Tea Pots - Styles, clays, sizes

Zi Sha Tea Pots - Styles, clays, sizes

One key aspect of zi sha is its natural, uncomplicated appearance, which is very much in contrast to some of the fine porcelain tea pots and tea sets that are often elaborately painted. Such an appearance reflects the purity and admiration of nature that cha dao prescribes. Such reflections can be seen in the popularity of tea pots made to resemble bamboo, trees, insects, flowers and other aspects of nature. Simplicity is a corner stone in Yi Xing tea pot production. You will find that most tea pots are undecorated and follow simple lines, though that is not to say that they are of all the same style. Tea pots allow both the artist and the collector to express themselves, to capture history and combine a range of arts. You will find many tea pots engraved or painted with simple slip (liquid clay) designs and calligraphy. The range and diversity of styles is tremendous and innovation abounds. Each generation of master potters keen to add their mark to this wonderful aspect of practical and artistic pottery.

Well known zi sha tea pot styles

  • Shi piao hu
  • Long dan hu - dragon egg
  • Li xing - pear shaped
  • Xi shi hu - taken from a Tang dynasty story about a beautiful women.
  • Ban yue hu - half moon tea pot
  • Fang gu hu - ancient copy tea pot
  • Yu Ru - Jade breast

More examples are given in our Tea Pot Gallery.

Zi Sha Tea Pot Spout types

Consideration of function is not just limited to visible outer functions such as the handle, lid, opening and the spout. The inner spout follows a number of different styles which have been developed over the centuries. Older zi sha tea pots have a single, large hole, however many newer pots now have a range of filters that prevent or at least reduce the amount of tea leaves that poured from the pot. When selecting your tea pot it is important to consider what type suits the type of tea you will prepare.

A guide to the range and types of internal filters used in Zi Sha pot spouts is given in our Tea Pot Spout Filter Gallery. The icons are used throughout the Wan Ling Tea House online shop for your convenience.

Zi Sha Clay Types

The range of zi sha clays is very diverse along with the popularity, quality and the availability of each type. Possibly the most common zi sha clay is wu se tu, or five colour clay.

  • Duan Ni (light clay, ranges from white through to light brown / orange)
  • Ping Zi Ni (original mixed dark clay)
  • Zhu Sha (red sand/clay)
  • Qing Shui ni (clear water clay)

Some artists use mixed Zi Sha types. Such an approach can create some impressive teapots, with complex patterns and ranges of colour.

Wan Ling Tea House now has a complete section dedicated to the YiXing ZhiSha Clay Types.

Zi Sha Tea Pot Sizes

One striking fact about zi sha tea pots is the range of sizes available. Some artists and collectors will specialise just in one size, others a broad range. The reasons behind the differences are both aesthetic and practical. Aesthetically, size allows for different styles to be produced and communicated. Practically, size meets the needs of different situations, numbers of guests and the amount of tea being drunk.

Within China many regions, ethnic groups tend to have preferences to what size is suitable for their requirements and the tea being drank. Tea being prepared in Gong Fu style will often use tea pots that are between 100cc and 300cc, with the large tea pots being used for red, black and pu er teas. Larger still tea pots are preferred by many in Zhejiang, Shanghai and Northern parts of China to prepare green and flower tea such as Jasmine.

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