- by vinux
Identify the quality of a purple clay teapot with five standards: Clay, Shape, Craftsmanship, Appearance, and Functionality.
To evaluate the internal content of a purple sand pot, three main factors must be taken into account: beautiful structure, exquisite production skills and excellent use functions. The criteria for judging the merits and demerits of Yixing purple sand pot can be summarized in five words: “mud, shape, workmanship, style and function”.
One is “mud”: the structure of purple clay mud is not the same, with slight differences. Thus, due to different raw materials, the functional utility and sensory feeling brought to people are also different.
The quality is good if the function and effect are good, otherwise it is poor; the quality is good if the feeling is good, otherwise it is poor. Therefore, when evaluating a purple sand pot, the first thing to consider is the quality of the mud. The changes in the color of the mud only bring different visual sensations to people, which have no effect on functions and touch. The purple sand pot needs to be explored continuously to make people feel comfortable and achieve psychological pleasure. So the feeling of purple sand quality table is more important than that of mud color.
Second is the “shape”: shape of purple sand teapot, is the richest in all kinds of tableware in the world, it has the praise of “different styles and different shapes”. How to evaluate these shapes also depends on people’s taste, because the social function of art is to meet people’s psychological needs. Since there are various psychological needs; broad love broad, beautiful love beauty, ancient love ancient, playful love interest, everyone has their own preferences, and can not be forced.
The merits and demerits of the shape of a purple sand pot are completely depending on individual’s feeling. “Equal Form” and “Equal Potential” in pottery making is referred to as “Balance” inart theory. Too much deep theory can be more confusing than elucidating. In other words, it is so called “heart has its own kind of wisdom”.
Third is “Construction”: Points, lines and surfaces are the basic elements that make up a Zisha teapot. In the process of forming a Zisha teapot, they must be clearly defined, just like painting with a fine brush. The start and end of the stroke, the curves and turns, the pauses and accentuations must all be clearly defined. The surface must be smooth if it needs to be smooth; the line must be straight if it needs to be straight; the point must be square if it needs to be square and round if it needs to be round – there can’t be any ambiguity. Otherwise, it cannot be considered a good pot. According to the special requirements of Zisha teapot forming process, the spout and handle must absolutely lie on one line, and their weight should also balance out. The mouth of the pot should tightly connect with its lid – these are also requirements for construction.
Fourth is “Kuan”: Kuan is the identification mark of a pot. Appreciating the meaning of purplish-brown clay pots has two layers: one layer means to identify who the author of the pottery is or who wrote the inscription; another layer means appreciating the content of the inscription, the calligraphy and paintings engraved on it, as well as the seal (stone carving). Decorative arts of purple sand pottery is part of Chinese traditional art, which has a significant feature that integrates poetry, calligraphy, painting and printing into one. Therefore, there are more aesthetic pleasures for a pot admirer to appreciate besides color, shape and making process， such as literature, calligraphy, painting and stone carving.
Fifth is “Functional Beauty”: The so called “Functional Beauty” refers to the beauty of the teapot’s functions. In recent years, new purple sand teapot products emerge one after another, like countless stars in the sky. Pottery makers are paying attention to the aesthetic beauty of form, and often ignoring functional beauty which can be seen everywhere. Especially some potters do not drink tea themselves, so they have little understanding of drinking habits, which directly affects the performance of purple sand teapots. Some even can be seen as “neither beautiful nor useful”.
The biggest difference between a purple sand teapot and other works of art lies in its strong practicality. Its “art” is completely in “use” and “products”. If it loses the meaning of “use”, “art” will no longer exist. Therefore, we must not ignore the functional beauty of the pot.