About Yixing clay and the current situation

some people might be interested to get some impressions about Yixing clay so I
thought I share some pictures in this and some of the next few posts.

I’ll start with Huanglongshan, which is probably the most famous and well known clay
mining area for Yixing clay. I took a few pictures the other day when i was hunting for
dragon kilns

The day we went there I’ve seen heavy machinery at work and it already fooled me for a second into the belief there might be some mining going on again. That’s not the case, they where just building some pathway or entrance for pedestrian access.

Looking a bit closer at the surface one can tell that there is of course some clay to be found still.

Most of it is long gone though. The backside of Huanglongshan where the mining went the deepest is a little pond now. Access there is apparently somewhat restricted or at least discouraged as most people are non-swimmers.

In another former mine (not for clay) just 1km away is a quite popular spot for swimming
which I often frequent myself in summer, but there too it is not officially allowed to swim
despite a local swimming club having a building and annual swimming competitions are
being held there.

Anyways, I got sidetracked a bit, back to Huanglongshan. Just because official mining has stopped there, at least for now, doesn’t mean no clay from there is available anymore. Quite a bit has been stored already long ago and in one of the next posts I’ll show yard pictures of one of the official local clay suppliers as well as some processing equipment. But even now, illegal mining on Huanglongshan takes place almost every night. And not only there.
You can see on the following pictures freshly dug holes on Huanglongshan where people scraped out what they deemed to be useful.

more about Yixing clay next time. Share on FacebookShare

craftsmanship Pottery zisha clay

More Dragon Kilns

A while back I wrote about Yixing dragon kilns here but recently on a mission for TeaChat I had another look around in search for an operational dragon kiln in Yixing.

Well, lets see what we’ve got. Maybe upfront, I could find 3 Dragon Kilns in Yixing all of which I visited.

First maybe the kiln I already blogged about, the DragonKiln behind the Jun-Glaze factory. It is still a historic site, and it is still protected. Recently there have been made some efforts to make it accessible to the public and maybe as a touristic site. New stairs have been built alongside the kiln as well as the roof and a fence around it. In the future it might cost a little fee to see it. It has not been fired in recent years. The kiln is hidden behind the factory which is currently being used by Han Xiaohu as his studio and showroom. He was nice enough to let us in and we had some Hong Cha together after-wards.

Another kiln, actually the first I visited that day, is the QianShu Dragon Kiln. I underestimated the distance from where I live to the QianShu kiln a little. I had not been there before and had to ask more then 10 times for the way and still missed the little road leading there. There are a few signs on the way, but somehow for the last turn that was omitted. It took me about 1 hour to get there on my bicycle and half an hour for the way back. This kiln, interestingly enough, is indeed operational and has been fired more or less recently. I have been told about one year ago. This is a rare occasion and mostly for cultural purposes and to prove it works. Not really much reason for hope that one could get their hands on a contemporary piece of Yixing pottery that has actually been fired in a Dragon Kiln. Not much of that around.

So, whats left? Backyard Dragon Kilns!
There is a smallish(in length) Dragon Kiln called Zisha LongYao inside ChangLeHong on tongshu road. It is quite roomy inside though, one can even stand upright. Unfortunately that Dragon Kiln is decorative and by the looks of it used for storage of larger pottery items. It is not in active use, although it might work,  sorry to get a but fuzzy on the details here, it probably never has had any useful output. It was a bit late by the time we arrived there and didn’t have much opportunity to ask.

The looks of the surface inside speak for themselves though…

Well, there you go. Sorry i haven’t got any better news for you, but it looks like there is currently no Dragon Kiln in regular use in Yixing, at least that i could find. If you heard differently and have an address please let me know, I’d like to go and have a look.

Maybe there is one more thing to add, reliable information is quite hard to come by. For me at least, asking about stuff just doesn’t cut it, i like to go out and see for myself if possible. For example the nice guy who had the key to the QianShu Dragon Kiln and unlocked the padlock to let me in said there is no other dragon kilns in Yixing but the one I was standing at….
I’m not sure what to think about that, but anyways, just go out and check for yourself if you can. Share on FacebookShare

tea YangXianXueYa

What I’ve been drinking?

YangXian Snow LeafInspired by TeaChat I’ll share what I have been drinking recently.

It was about one hour after lunch, and I had some excellent 2010 YangXianXueYa.

YangXian is the old name for Yixing and XueYa means snow leaf.

YangXianXueYa in glass on my table
I enjoyed my YangXianSnowLeaf  tea directly from a simple glas.

The new harvest for 2011’s YangXianXueYa is almost within reach, only a few weeks to go.

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Literature tea

Tea in literature – II

Sie saßen und tranken am Teetisch,
Und sprachen von Liebe viel.
Die Herren waren ästhetisch,
Die Damen von zartem Gefühl.

Die Liebe muß sein platonisch,
Der dürre Hofrat sprach.
Die Hofrätin lächelt ironisch,
Und dennoch seufzet sie: Ach!

Der Domherr öffnet den Mund weit:
Die Liebe sei nicht zu roh,
Sie schadet sonst der Gesundheit.
Das Fräulein lispelt: Wie so?

Die Gräfin spricht wehmütig:
Die Liebe ist eine Passion!
Und präsentieret gütig
Die Tasse dem Herrn Baron.

Am Tische war noch ein Plätzchen;
Mein Liebchen, da hast du gefehlt.
Du hättest so hübsch, mein Schätzchen,
Von deiner Liebe erzählt.

[Heinrich Heine]

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