Various Types of Purple Clay Yixing Teapot

Various Types of Purple Clay Yixing Teapot

Yixing teapot(宜兴紫砂壶) has been produced in Yixing situated to the west of Taihu in Jiangsu Province for centuries. Since the 16th century, Purple Clay Teapot has been made in Yixing, characterized by the unique purple clay raw material, the county of Yixing is endowed with rich clay deposits.

The unique natural resources and opportunity let the pottery-making business bloom around the small towns of Dingshan and Shushan in Yixing. (丁山 蜀山)

Instead of being thrown on the wheel, all Yixing teapots are either completely hand-made or partially hand-made with mold. Raw hard clay is pounded with a mallet into a slab, and the body of the teapot is either press-molded, paddles or slab according to the desired shape. Completely hand-made teapots are often more valued, and it gives more variation to the art, the posture of the teapot.

Completely handmade Teapot

Yixing Teapots has five major styles.

Rounded shape

Round clay teapot is the most common and most produced type of style. They give the impression of elegance and staid. It emphasizes the total balance of the posture of the teapot, the teapot itself should be mellow and plump, with a. overall symmetrical design


Square Teapot emphasizes the smoothness of the slain lines, and the overall round layout should be hidden in the square direct streaks. It demands the lid should be able to fits in any direction, and fits tight with the body, thus the difficulty of making a square teapot is much higher than a rounded teapot.

Ribbed and segmented

Ribbed and segmented Teapot is formed with curved surfaces. It is inspired by daily life objects, like clouds, the pattern of disturbed water, and flower petals, where curved surfaces gather as a whole. It is even more difficult to make a ribbed and segmented teapot, as it requires the upper part of the teapot to match the lower part of the body completely, and have an elegant, clear pattern at the same time.


A naturalistic Teapot is any teapot that mimics the forms of natural begins, for example, flowers, the texture of bamboo, or even a dragon. It is inspired by nature and adds more variation to the making of Clay Teapot, it enables craftsmen to jump outside of the box of tradition, and be more free and bold towards their creation, makes the art pieces closer to daily life.

Teapot with Girder handler


The teapot with the handler is unique of its kind, the girder handler is placed above the teapot body, and faces the same direction of the spout. In ancient China, people love to brew tea by placing a teapot above the stove, having a girder handler catered to this need. 

The above explained the major styles of Yixing clay teapots, we should now have some basic understanding of purple clay teapots. Next time, we will start to go into a detailed explanation of each one of them, and show some unique traditional designs of the teapot.

To learn more about various types of Tea and their characteristic, there is an article about various types of Tea.

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