For a cup of tea ...
Yixing is a small town located in the Jiangsu province on Lake Tianmu known for, among others, bamboo forest and tasty fish, called the kingdom of pottery. The origins of Yixing pottery go back 8 – 7 millennium BC. Celadon, one of the popular types of Chinese ceramics (thick walls and grayish-green glaze) it was produced there already during the Han dynasty (206 bc -220 born) i Jin (265–420 do). Celadon in colors from olive to greyish was supposed to be a cheap imitation of extremely expensive jade.
Today's Yixing ceramics are divided into 5 categories also known as "Five Golden Flowers": Zisha (brown-red clay), Jing-Tao (porcelain dinner set), Cai-Tao (colored ceramics), Jun-Tao (faience) and celadon. Zisha (lit. purple sand) the most popular clay in the region is mined in the Yellow Dragon Mountains (Huang Long Shan). It was popularized in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 born).
Teapots for infusing tea, Special tea mugs and ceramic beer mugs are commonplace for today's Chinese. They are available in various designs, colors and materials. Native collectors prefer products from the above-mentioned Zish as well as Tiesha and Zhusha. Tiesha (lit. iron sand) it is a clay containing a lot of iron, which makes it very dark, almost black. Zhusha, on the other hand, is redder than Yixing clay.
Pottery and tea experts emphasize, that only one pot should be brewed 1 type of tea, because Yixing clay is exactly what, absorbs its scent. There is a technique, which allows the teapots to "live". After brewing and drinking tea, Leave the leaves inside until they are completely dry and wipe the outer surfaces dry. This step should be repeated several times, of course when we want tea. If the teapot is made of good clay, after some time, water poured into it, it will have the smell and taste of previously brewed tea. Such teapots are called "living" (living pots).
I visited the Yixing Ceramics Museum. The place immediately captivates. The building is located only 100 meters from a fairly busy street, but on a hill and hidden behind trees: palm trees and giant bamboos. The walls are covered with ivy, which is very unusual in China.
A wonderful place not because of the number of exhibits, because there are few historical copies from dynastic sections, but because of the atmospheric. An hour of isolation from the world in the empty rooms of the museum, because I was the only visitor, it's an unforgettable experience. The 20th century exhibition is the most colorful, because of the colors and amazing shapes. The motifs customarily used in ceramics are vegetation and, less frequently, animals, but the last century has brought not only the development of forms (e.g.. A jug in the form of a camera), but also motives (with St.. Santa Claus inclusive).
American design below the 20th century
Right next to the museum there are workshops of the most famous ceramists in the region. You can talk to the artist, drink tea and rest from the heat in an air-conditioned room. I was delighted with contemporary ceramics, in particular hand-made teapots. It takes a single copy to produce 3 do 5 days. Wonders from famous ceramists cost from 8.000 yuan to 88.000 (0d 881,36 do 9.693,45 EUR; 1 EUR = 9,07 CNY). Artist Mr. Cheng, whose daughter I talked to, one of the best ceramists in the region, sells jugs just after 88.000 yuan. I drank local tea and heard family stories. Father, syn, daughter and her husband are ceramists. The grandchildren are already training their workshop under the supervision of the masters.
Father Cheng's jug
Copies can be purchased online:)