Brew the Perfect Tea in Purple Clay

Purple clay (Zisha) is a generic term for the clay material found indigenous to the region of Yixing, China.  Purple clay is in fact midway between earthenware and porcelain. Clays similar to Yixing clay in color and general appearance can be found in many parts of China and Europe too, but they lack the sandy consistency that makes Yixing clay unique.  Its unique quality makes it excellent for delicate hand-crafted creations.  Therefore, purple clay can be produced into teapots, tea wares and other handicraft articles.

Teapots made from Yixing purple clay are extolled by aficionados as superior to all other types of teapots for brewing tea.  This is attributed to the unglazed nature of the teapot after firing which retains its porous nature, which is excellent at absorbing the flavor and aroma of tea.  After prolonged use, a patina will gradually develop on the interior of the teapot which enhances the taste, color and aroma of the tea.  Legend has it that if a purple clay teapot has been used for a long time, one can simply pour hot water into the teapot to brew a cup of tea. To avoid a mixture of various tea fragrances, it's essential to stick to the same kind of tea for the same teapot. 

To the aficionados, to find the right match between the kind of tea and the teapot is an unfathomable and abstruse study.  As over time, the right match means the maximization of the following:
  * the enhancement of the taste, aroma and purity of the tea, i.e. to upgrade the quality of the tea leaves,
   * the luster of the surface of the teapot, and
   * the growth in value of the teapot.

The more you use the teapot, the richer the interior patina and the more lustrous the surface will grow.  Therefore, just make frequent and correct (as mentioned above) uses of the teapot.  Then the quality of the tea brewed by the nurtured teapot and the beauty of the teapot will be enhanced with use, and hence the value of the teapot

Purple clay ware completely made by hand is not only excellent in brewing tea but also beautiful.  Its aesthetical beauty derives from the variety of colors, its texture, the exceptional artistic design in form and shape, the exquisite free hand forming skills and superb workmanship of the artisan. Only a perfect and harmonious combination of all these leads to the paramount status of a purple clay ware. 

The designs and shapes of clay wares can be classified into three main types:  natural, geometric shapes or artistic style.  Another way of classification is simply to define them as plain teapots or decorated teapots.  In addition, calligraphy, painting, intricate carvings and sculptures are also incorporated into the teapot, making this art form a unique expression of the Chinese art.
Modern craftsmen or artisans not only produce replicas of old pots, but constantly create new and innovative designs which contribute to the individual character of each teapot.  It is through the medium of these valuable works of art that many aspects of Chinese culture are embodied in the teapots and are therefore preserved.