Components and Types of Purple Clay
The main mineral compositions of purple clay are quartz, clay, mica and hematite. They are evenly mixed, which can be described as “clay-quartz-mica” with high iron content. The processed purple clay contains more quartz and iron, which looks purple and purple red. This clay is very plastic. After being fired, the utensil will have fine sand and smooth surface and the cross section of the pottery looks very delicate. Purple clay comes in many types, among which purple, red and green clays are mainly used to make tea pots. These 3 clays are found in different seams of ceramic clay. After processing, the finished products is called “nature color pot”. Under the ingenious arrangement of craftsmen, the potteries can have various colors, like begonia red, red purple clay, sunflower yellow, black green, white sand, light black, pear skin, bean green and new copper green. All these colors, plain and elegant, come from natural materials.
Types of Purple Clay Pots
There are mainly 3 types of purple clay pots: smooth pots, engraved pots, and tendon sack pots, each with many subtypes.
Smooth pots refer to geometric shape pots with smooth and plain surfaces. They can be divided into 2 types, round and square.
Round pots, the cross section of which is round or oval, have outlines combined by curves of different directions and curvatures. This kind of purple clay pots stresses an appropriate proportion between each part as well as the smoothness of curves. The pots stand detailed appreciation and manifest a lively and docile beauty.
Square Pots, which may be rectangle, hexagon or octagon, have outlines combined by ridges of surfaces or intersections. This kind of pots stresses orderly lines, surfaces, and distinguished outlines in order to show lively and powerful masculine beauty. Mitral valve pots, summon pots and ladle ridge pots were famous pot types in the Ming and the Qing Dynasties
Engraved pots, also called “carved pots”, mainly use engraving skills. These pots focus on vivid imitation of natural items, so that people will feel their marvelous arts when making tea. They come in 3 types: firstly, those pots with plant-like shapes, like plum blossom pots, pine tree pot and bamboo pot; secondly, those with fruit shape, such as pumpkin pot, chayote pot and lotus root pot; thirdly, those with animal shapes, like fish changing into dragon pot, also those with an animal-shape handle. In addition, some purple clay pots have anaglyph. Since the anaglyphs on the pots are outstanding, those are also categorized into engraved pots.
Tendon sack pots
Tendon sack pots are also called “tendon-line pots”. “Tendon sack” refers to curves like pumpkin ridges or chrysanthemum pedals on the pots. Then craftsmen take these separate “tendon sack” to make a pot. They have to ensure the sameness between the out surface and the inner part, the close and fitted mouth and the lid. These tea pots show a geometric and orderly beauty.