Yixing clay teapots (simplified Chinese: 宜兴; traditional Chinese: 宜興; pinyin: Yíxīng; Wade–Giles: I-Hsing) (also called Purple Sand Chinese: 紫砂; pinyin: zǐshā; Wade–Giles: tsu sha) are made from Yixing clay. This traditional style commonly used to brew tea originated in China, dating back to the 15th century, and are made from clay produced near Yixing in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu. Archaeological excavations reveal that as early as the Song Dynasty (10th century) potters near Yixing were using local "zisha" (紫砂 or 紫泥; literally, "purple sand/clay") to make utensils that may have functioned as teapots. According to the Ming Dynasty author Zhou Gaoqi, during the reign of the Zhengde Emperor, a monk from Jinsha Temple (Golden Sand Temple) in Yixing handcrafted a fine quality teapot from local clay. Such teapots soon became popular with the scholarly class, and the fame of Yixing teapots began to spread. Yíxīng teapots are actually made in nearby Dīngshān, also known as Dingshu,on the west side of Lake Tai. Hundreds of teapot shops line the edges of the town's crowded streets and it is a popular tourist destination for many Chinese. While Dīngshān is home to dozens of ceramics factories, Yíxīng Zǐshā Factory Number 1, which opened in 1958 processes a large part of the clay used in the region, produces fine pottery ware, and has a large commercial showroom. In addition to the better known teapots, frescoes, oil and grain jars, flower vases, figurines, glazed tiles, tables, ornamental rocks, and even ornamental waste bins are all manufactured in the community.
The history of Jianshui purple pottery, which is also known as Southern Yunnan red jade, goes back hundreds of years. During the Song dynasty it was celadon; during the Yuan it was blue and white ceramics; during the Ming it was coarse ceramics; during the Qing it was purple pottery. Today, it is considered to be among the four famous types of Chinese pottery and represents the traditional folk art of Yunnan's Jianshui county.
Qin Zhou Ni Xing pottery has a history of over 1300 years. They are crafted from a type of naturally occurring reddish-purple clay that is both clean and environmentally friendly. It contains natural amounts of iron, zinc, calcium, strontium and numerous other minerals that are good for the human body. There are absolutely no glazes or paints used in the firing of the clay, rather variations of the color and appearance are a result of firing at different temperatures and the polishing the final product. Most pots take on a beautiful reddish copper tone. Like Yi Xing and Jian Shui pots, these teapots absorb the taste of the tea that is frequently brewed in them, and so we recommend that the teapot be seasoned and a single class of tea be dedicated to it.
Sichuan Rongchang pottery mainly consists of commodities like kettles, jars, pots, vases and so on, with the most famous being the Rongchang pickle jar. The very popular pickle jar is suitable and useful for making pickles as its shape, structure, and proportions are in harmony and create a beautiful appearance. There are two kinds of clay in Rongchang, one is red and the other is white. Craftsmen delicately create various decorations on the pottery with both red and white clay. For example, a pottery body made with red clay can be decorated with white appliqué or a golden mixture of the two colors. The surface of the pottery is beautifully scratched and picked with smooth lines, most of which are single-lined patterns. It is such a model for the combination of function and beauty, with sharp contrasts and simple and natural ornamental patterns. Over the past centuries, with its unique local craftsmanship and artistic style, Rongchang pottery enjoyed reputations such as “as thin as paper, as bright as glass and as sonorous as chime stone”. It has added an indispensable page to the histories of Chinese ceramics and Chinese arts and crafts.