• by vinux

Inlay is a common decorative technique in Chinese arts and crafts, particularly flourishing in the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is often used on bronze ware, bamboo ware, wooden ware, ivory ware, jade carvings, etc. The items inlaid are often made of various natural materials such as jadeite, malachite, lapis lazuli, coral, agate and mother-of-pearl.

Borrowing from the techniques of these craftworks, inlaid decoration is created on purple clay teapots. Mainly, it includes colored mud inlaying, gold and silver wire inlaying, porcelain beads, glaze beads inlaying, snail feet and jade stones inlaying.

Inlay of purple sand was most prosperous in the mid-Qing Dynasty. In addition to inlaying gold and silver, there were also jade, jewelry, ivory and other decorations, showing a magnificent and exquisite decoration effect. Inlay of purple sand with gold is simply to insert the filaments or pieces of precious metal into the pattern carved before firing.

First, it is necessary to conceive the pattern of the inlaid gold pattern. The pattern should be consistent with the decoration content and theme to be expressed by the purple sand works, using an appropriate and graceful pattern to show the inlaid decoration content in order to achieve a vivid artistic effect.

A purple clay gold-inlaid money toad playing in the water set.

Purple sand inlay gold is generally selected from fine raw ore deep purple mud, black purple mud, and the shiny pattern forms a strong contrast between light and dark, giving people a pleasant visual effect.

Embroidered silver wire leather pot

Before the purple sand body is dry, copy the pattern on the body, and use a knife to engrave the pattern. The engraved pattern should be clear, firm, smooth, and the edge should be smooth so that inlaying gold can be done easily. When carving, it is also necessary to consider the shrinkage rate of clay after being fired.

After the body is dried, it is fired in a kiln and becomes a ceramic work which serves as a carrier for embossed gold patterns. Gently rubbing with fine sandpaper to remove the fine sand particles, embedding the metal pattern made into the carved groove, gently tapping with a special small hammer until it fits.

The process of inlaying silver thread on a purple-clay teapot.

Zisha inlay with gold, using soft and heavy, highly elastic precious metal wire and sheet as decorative material. Its cost is relatively high, difficulty is relatively large and completion time is relatively long. It is the combination of skill and art, showing the aesthetic feeling of rhythmic beauty between modeling and decoration. The fine workmanship is even more shocking.

In addition to inlaid gold, there is also gold drawing. The gold drawing technology of the purple sand pot is one of the traditional decoration techniques. The practice of gold drawing flourished during the Kang, Yong, and Qian dynasties of the Qing dynasty. During the Qianlong and Jiaqing periods, possibly influenced by the court style, decorative techniques such as gold drawing and inlay appeared for purple sand pots.

The so-called “Miao Jin” was originally the most common method used in lacquerware. Generally, gold was used to depict on the xiu lacquer surface. Purple sand teapots borrowed and transplanted this method, directly grinding real gold powder on the body of the teapot according to the previously designed layout pattern.

It employs a variety of techniques to add gold and silver colors to its paintings, integrating poetry, books, painting and inscriptions. Its technical skill is excellent, the drawing style is elegant and restrained, the brushwork vigorous and smooth, its painting precise and neat. The combination of poem and painting appears solemn and elegant.

The Qianlong Emperor black lacquer painted a square vase with gold patterns.