• by vinux

Since ancient times, Chinese people have been particular about matching social status in marriages, especially between men and women.

Drinking tea also requires proper matching. Different people drink different teas, different teas are paired with different kettles, and different kettles are paired with different cups.

Nowadays, more and more people are fond of purple clay teapots, which are called the divine tool for making tea. So what is the ideal teapot for tea-drinking?

Xiaoyun believes that among many tea sets, Jianzhan can be regarded as the best tea-drinking tool for purple clay teapots.

Why say that? Follow Little Yun and learn about the mysterious connection between purple sand teapots and Jianzhan teacups.

It’s a match made in heaven.

Deep historical roots

Families with similar social standing are often considered when looking for a marriage partner. In this regard, both Zisha and Jianzhan can be considered famous families in the world of tea utensils with hundreds of years of foundation. Their intersection dates back to the Song Dynasty.

During the Song Dynasty, the Jianzhan produced by Shuiji in Jianzhou stood out among all kinds of porcelain and was favored by Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty, becoming a special tea set for doucha (a type of tea party), thus flourishing.

Song Dynasty Tea Ceremony Picture

The Song Dynasty was an era of great innovation in Chinese culture. One of the most popular developments during this time was the introduction of tea drinking as a way to enjoy refreshment and promote health. This “Tea Ceremony Picture” from the Song Dynasty depicts a group of people drinking tea together in a gathering. The man on the left is preparing tea for his guests, while two attendants prepare cups for them to drink from. On the right side is a woman pouring hot water into a teapot. In the background, figures are enjoying their conversation around low tables with cushions on top. This painting shows how drinking tea became an important part of social interaction during the Song Dynasty.

The Nan Song Dynasty built Oil Drop Heaven’s Eye teacup.

At present, although no clear records of books can be found about purple clay, in 1976, the remains and fragments of purple clay with Song Dynasty features were found in the ancient kiln site of Yixing Yangjiao Mountain, which proves that purple clay may have existed in Song Dynasty.

Remnants of purple sand

Although purple sand pot existed at that time, compared with Jianzhan which was endorsed by the emperor himself and enjoyed popularity among people, Purple Sand was only known to a few and remained obscure.

However, the Jianzhan family has been declining since the Yuan Dynasty. With the rise of scattered leaf tea in the Ming Dynasty and the change of tea drinking style, the purple sand family began to make its way onto the historical stage.

The appropriate match of people is found.

The ingredients and production process are extremely strict.

In scrutinizing this matter, purple sand and Jianzhan have the right to speak. In terms of material selection, they both have strong regional characteristics.

The material for purple sand pots is only taken from Yixing Ding Mountain. This kind of purple sand ore has a unique double air hole structure, and the mud from other places cannot be used to make authentic purple sand pots.

The raw material for making Jianzhan wares comes from Shujiji Town in Jianyang City, Fujian Province, which was under the jurisdiction of Jianzhou during the Song Dynasty, hence it is called Jianyao. Only those made with local materials can be truly called Jianzhan.

Han Clock Pot

In terms of production, both purple sand and Jianzhan are handmade works of folk artists. The raw material formula and production process are strictly in accordance with the ancient method.

Rabbit whisker cup

However, the craftsmanship of purple clay and Jianzhan is slightly different in terms of inheritance.

Purple sand has been prosperous since the Ming dynasty, although it has survived in turbulent times. Until now, it is even more prosperous. However, Jianzhan declined after the Yuan Dynasty and was interrupted for hundreds of years until the first group of craftsmen re-grasped the art of Jianzhan in the 1970s.

When a door is fit for a particular lock, it is said to be “door-to-lock matched”.

The aesthetic art of understatement and simplicity.

Purple Sand and Jianzhan are both artistic masters, yet rarely so alike in temperament. Both take a low-key approach but have extremely high aesthetic sensibilities.

The shape of a purple clay pot can be either simple and elegant or exquisite and delicate, and the body of the pot can be engraved with calligraphy, seal carving, and painting, making it an all-rounder gentleman with both internal and external cultivation.

The Dongpo stone gourd is a stone sculpture created by the famous poet and calligrapher Su Shi from the Song Dynasty in China. It is a type of pottery made from rock, painted with layers of colors, and carved with a variety of patterns. The most iconic of these patterns is that of a gourd, which symbolizes abundance and wealth. This work has been instrumental in spreading Dongpo culture throughout China.

Although the shape of JianZhan vessels does not change much, under its low-key and quiet appearance, there are magical patterns such as TuHao, oil droplets and YaoBian. JianZhan is more like an elf, presenting you with a colorful world of colors.

Osaka Fujiwara Museum Collection of Yanbian Vases

Purple sand and Jianzhan pottery are not only teaware, but also renowned artworks both in China and abroad.

Yixing purple clay teapots, which had already become popular in Europe between the 17th and 19th centuries, were highly sought-after among royalty, ministers and wealthy people as collectibles and a symbol of wealth.

Nowadays, purple sand teapots are highly sought after in the overseas market. The first one that sold for more than 10 million this year was from Singapore.

Chen Mingyuan’s pumpkin kettle

After the fall of the Southern Song Dynasty, Jianzhan flowed east to Japan and was regarded as an invaluable treasure. There are only three extant Yao Bian Jianzhan worldwide, all of which are in Japan and have been designated as national treasures by the Japanese government, which shows its artistic value.

The Osaka Ritsu Daiyo Ceramics Art Museum’s tea cups drip.

A match made in heaven.

Speak with practicality.

Purple sand and Jianzhan teapots are both tea utensils, so it is essential that they have good practicality for drinking tea.

The advantages of using a purple-clay teapot to make tea have been discussed for a long time. Its size is comfortable to hold and its body is finely pierced with air holes, giving it a high density that helps keep the tea warm and retain its original flavor. There is also the pleasure of taking care of the teapot.

Resembling antique wish-fulfillment.

The thick and concise shape of the Jianzhan pot follows the custom of drinking tea, with high iron content that can have the effect of softening water. The glaze also retains numerous small pores to better maintain the temperature of the tea, and there is also a saying about caring for it.

Jingjia Tang’s Collection of Changing Lanterns (Daoye Tianmu)

Some people also say that using Jianzhan for tea drinking, unable to see the color of tea, is not suitable for the current way of making tea. Indeed, it is difficult to distinguish the color of tea in black glaze Jianzhan, and its volume seems slightly larger than ordinary teacups. However, one can appreciate the misty clouds rising from Jianzhan which is a wonderful scene that cannot be found in blue and white porcelain cups.

Purple clay teapots and tea cups have a perfect match from historical origins, raw material production, aesthetic artistry and practicality. It is truly the best combination for making tea.

On the tea table, Purple Sand and Jianzhan with its simplicity yet not plainness carries beauty, making it a perfect soul mate on the tea table. What do you think?