- by vinux
1. Look at the surface: a good purple clay teapot should be dense and smooth, without holes on the surface;
2. Listen to the sound of tapping: when you tap on it with your finger, it should emit a crisp sound;
3. Feel the weight: in general, a purple clay teapot should feel heavier than ordinary ceramics;
4. Touch by hand: the more delicate and compact the pottery is, the better its quality will be.
At present, the market of purple sand is still not standard, with inferior goods making up for it, false impersonation of celebrities, and the phenomenon of pretending old for modern is not uncommon. How to tell if it is real purple sand or an old pot or a new one? I also went from knowing nothing to knowing something. I take out my experience and share it with everyone. Maybe it will be very helpful for you when buying pots in the future, at least you won’t be taken advantage of.
Since Yixing’s purple sand is well-known for its good price, some places make various teapots with “purple clay”, especially in train stations and wharfs. They are sold in large quantities at tourist spots and not expensive in general. When customers look at them, they think that they are purple sand and like the appearance, so they ask the price which is fair. Therefore, they buy it back home. In fact, whether it is true Yixing purple sand or not can be understood with a little knowledge about it.
The biggest feature of Yixing purple sand is that it contains sand in its mud material. It has strong air permeability and high plasticity. The traditional handicraft is made by the method of enclosing walls and loess pieces. In addition to Yixing purple sand, other places such as Liaoning Kala left, Henan Baofeng, Guizhou Guiyang, Chaozhou Guangzhou and so on are strictly speaking not purple sand but a kind of red clay. After burning, the color is not as deep as Yixing purple sand. Some “packaging” done on it can be easily washed away because these red clays cannot be made manually, they can only be pulled or injected with mud. Be careful, teapots injected with mud are usually heavier and have a heavy feeling when held in hand. Because the mud material of Yixing pottery is relatively expensive, manual workers generally do not use a lot of mud to make very thick teapots. Pulled teapots can be pulled very thin, such as Chaozhou’s horizontal sometimes wall thickness is only 1 mm thick.
To identify whether Yixing Purple Clay is real or fake, I will share my experience of buying pottery with everyone. While this may be used for reference, I am sure that I have not been scammed so far in my research.
Step one. Color gives people the first impression, Yixing purple clay is abundant in colors, apart from the more common purples, there are also red purples, brown purples, and so on. The product of other places called purple mud fired has a single color usually all clear, with a sense of yellow mud inside upon closer look. Yixing purple clay has a variety of colors, including green, yellow and black besides large amounts of deep red. It could be said that each color is unique and incomparable; other than Yixing purple clay, other pottery remains the same in terms of color.
Step two. Besides its material, the category, quality and style of purple-clay are very important. Yixing purple-clay has experienced a development history of five or six hundred years since the Ming Dynasty, and has reached a rather high level. There are a lot of excellent pottery makers there with profound skills and superb techniques, producing one purple-clay pot after another. It can be said that they have already reached quite a skilled level. Generally speaking, just by placing Yixing pots and non-Yixing pots together, it’s possible to distinguish their levels of quality. Non-Yixing pots are relatively rigid in terms of shape and crude as they are not handmade; proportions such as lines and surfaces have not been paid sufficient attention to so they look coarser than usual.
Step 3. Touch, pick up a purple sand teapot. In addition to viewing and inspecting, it is necessary to touch it with your hands. Sometimes you need to press the teapot against your face intimately, because Yixing purple sand contains a certain proportion of sand quality. Teapots made of non-Yixing purple sand look smooth, but the actual feeling in your hand is rough and greasy. The Yixing teapot feels comfortable when touched and has a warm contact with the skin.
Step 4. Listen to the sound, Yixing purple sand is made by hand. After multiple punches and suppression, it is produced through multiple processes by the maker. The finger prints on the surface can be said to be tens of millions of times. After burning, the sound of knocking is relatively crisp. When Yixing pottery is formed, it only goes out of the turntable through mud or from the model without pressing and no manual artistry such as pushing, pinching, feeling, smoothing and scraping by the artist. Therefore, it lacks charm and knocks out a dull sound.
Step 5. Look inside. Yixing teapots, after going through many processes, have few handcrafted traces left, however when inspecting and touching inside the pot, you can still see some marks of manual work, for example the junction between the spout and body is pasted by hand, so a little trace must show up when disassembling them as it is impossible for the maker to make it completely smooth. Besides there’s no need to do so.
Step 6. Haha?? I’m not gonna say what you all want me to say, which is bargain price. If you go to the market or street stalls to buy a purple sand pot and cannot tell whether it is real or fake, the simplest way is to bargain. Genuine Yixing purple sand pots are expensive due to their clay material and complicated production process, and the wholesaler’s cost price is also high. Most non-Yixing purple sands are made by village moulds with low cost. If you can bargain to a very low price and the dealer is still willing to sell it to you, then you might consider that the pot may not be from Yixing. Of course, there is a huge difference in price for genuine Yixing purple sands; some of them can reach tens of thousands yuan or even more than ten thousand yuan, while some only cost dozens yuan or even just several yuan. This is true for everything; otherwise the world would not have become so colourful.