Zisha (purple clay) is a unique type of clay produced in the region of Yixing. The pottery made from the clay is named Zisha ware, among which the best known is Zisha teapot/ tea ware. The protection scope of Yixing Zisha ware is the area under the jurisdiction in Yixing City, Jiangsu Provinc. The raw material is the purple clay mined within the scope of Yixing, which mainly includes purple mud, red mud and Benshan green mud. Its appearance is purple red, red, yellow, light purple, green, cyan gray or black. Zisha clay of Yixing is pure and bright in texture, with high breathability. When tea is brewed in Zisha ware, it retains the fragrance of tea and develops a lustrous texture and appearance after prolonged usage. It has been gem of traditional Chinese craftwork, cherished by literati, imperial courts and commoners.
According to the records, Zisha tea ware was originated in the Song dynasty, and associated with tea ceremony in the Ming dynasty, its production reached its heyday in the Qing Dynasty and became an art form which is still popular today. For thousands of years, Zisha tea wares have been deeply rooted in Chinese traditions and carrying various cultural elements, thus it can be regarded as a synthesis of traditional Chinese culture. It bears a long history of ceramic and farming culture, and has an indissoluble bond with the tea culture; it is also widely integrated with painting and calligraphy and fused with elements of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. It is a rarity of the world ceramic art and a landmark cultural heritage of Yixing region. (Courtesy of Intellectual Property Protection Department of CNIPA)2019-12-04