The 11th episode of the "Jiangsu Culture" series micro-documentary, titled "The Magic of Orient Mud", and jointly produced by the Information Office of the Jiangsu Provincial People's Government, has been released. When mud is infused with "magic" and blends with human wisdom, aesthetics, and emotions, it becomes the carrier of a culture passed down for thousands of years. This episode adopts a multi-threaded narrative structure, connecting the overall context by documenting the daily stories of several skilled Yixing purple clay craftsmen. It provides a complete showcase of the craftsmanship behind making purple clay teapots, which involves several processes such as clay preparation, kneading, sculpting, and firing, revealing the humanistic power behind the "magic".
In Yixing, a craft has been passed down from generation to generation. It injects wisdom, ingenuity, and oriental aesthetics into the earth, magically creating an amazing vessel, Zisha teapot (the purple clay teapot). The making of Zisha teapot takes several steps: knock, clap, stick, close. The biggest secret of the purple clay teapot is in the mineral materials that are ground into fine powder. Huanglong Mountain, Dingshu Town, the hill boasts the raw materials of the Zisha teapot. The iron content in the minerals determines the final color and texture of the purple clay. After selection, qualified mineral materials have to go through three processes of grinding, sieving, and drying before being turned into purple clay for teapots.
The to-be-finished Zisha teapot requires the last process-fire. The ancient kiln was built bottom-up on the hill, like a crouching loong in sleep. Hence, the name of the Loong kiln. However, the modernization advances the technology of kiln firing. Electric kilns and gas kilns, more efficient and precise, have gradually replaced traditional Loong kilns. Zisha teapots sit in the fire at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Celsius.
Zisha teapot is born for tea and thrives on teapot. They both come out of the earth and then bond intimately. The earth under our feet, through the wisdom of craftsmen, is turned into art works, which are passed down through generation.
Source: The Information Office of the Jiangsu Provincial People's Government