First in History: Yixing Teapots of TianQing Clay Found in US 清代天青泥紫砂壶首次被发现

-- George Wang, Ph.D., yixing.us(at)gmail.com

Abstract 摘要

TianQing Ni or Clay has caught tea drinkers' imagination for many centuries and people no longer know what it is ever since it vanished during the end of the Qing dynasty. This article demonstrated for first time that three Yixing teapots of different shape and color made in the Qing dynasty fit perfectly with what has been described in the literature are therefore made of TianQing clay.

幾個世紀以來,“天泥”一直吸引著飲茶者的想像力,自清朝滅亡以來,人們就已经不能确定它为何物了。本文首次證明清代制作的三把颜色造型各异的宜興紫砂壺,其特性與文獻中所描述的完全吻合,由此判定均採用了天青泥料

What IS TianQing Clay 什么是天青泥

TianQing Ni or clay is the most expensive and sought-after Zisha clay in the Qing and late Ming dynasty. However, what it really is still controversial, and it has not reached consensus as to which existing teapots were made of such clay. From the book "Sandy Purple Clay of YangXian" by Mr LIU Yulin, it belongs to the Purple clay category, and it has "dark liver" color after being fired. Furthermore, after being used for a while, it will turn greenish.

天青泥是明清代最昂贵,最受歡迎的紫砂土。但是,它到底是什麼還有爭議。從劉玉林老师的《陽羨砂土》一書中,它屬於紫類,經燒製後“暗肝”色。此外,使用一段時間後,它會青里透綠。


Screenshot of the book <<YanXian MingHuXi>> by ZHOU Gaoqi of Ming dynasty

Excepted from <<YanXian MingHuXi>> by ZHOU Gaoqi of Ming dynasty (where TianQing clay first appeared):

TianQing Clay, from Lishu, becomes dark liver color after firing. The interlayer of the purple clay is Pear-Skin clay, also called sandwiched fat, which is pear color after firing; Light Red clay, which appears pine flower color after firing; Light Yellow clay, which will appear bean-blue color after firing; Dense clay, after firing It shows a light ochre color; Pear Skin and White Sand clay mixed together, after firing, show a light ink color. This shows that due to the relationship of geological origin, the iron content and chemical composition of each clay ore are different, the firing atmosphere is different, and the color changes are rich. As the mountain is changing manifestly, it shows a bizarre effect after firing

摘自《阳羡茗壶系》:

"天青泥,出蠡墅,陶之变黯肝色。又其夹支有梨皮泥,陶现梨冻色;淡红泥,陶现松花色;浅黄泥,陶现豆碧色;密泥,陶现轻赭色;梨皮和白砂,陶现淡墨色。山灵腠络,陶冶变化,尚露种种光怪云。"

司开国先生的翻译:

"天青泥,出自蠡墅,烧制变成黯肝色。紫泥的夹层有梨皮泥,又称夹脂,烧成后呈梨冻色;淡红泥,烧成后呈现松花色;浅黄泥,烧成后呈现豆碧色;密泥,烧成后呈现轻赭色;梨皮和白砂泥,烧成后呈现淡墨色。这说明由于地质成因的关系,每处泥矿含铁量、化学成分均不相同,烧成的气氛各有差异,颜色变化丰富。如同山在显灵变化,烧成后显示光怪陆离的效果。"


I have a dark color teapot but not sure what kind of clay it has. After being soaked in water for a week, it suddenly turned greenish. This reminds me it might be TianQing clay. I immediately sent the pictures to Mr. LIU Yulin and got positive answer from him. He also sent me back a closeup picture of TianQing clay. This is exactly what I saw with my teapot under magnification glass.

我有一個深色紫砂壺,但不確定它是那类紫砂泥料。在水中浸泡一周後,它突然變的青里透綠。這使我想起了可能是青泥。我立即將照片發送給劉玉林老师,並得到他的肯定答复。他還給我寄回了天青泥的特寫照片。這正是我在放大鏡下用茶壺看到的東西。


YiXing Zisha Teapot TianQing Clay SHAO Hengyu mark with Calligraphy 清邵亨裕款天青泥杨桃壶

It has deep dark color before being used(久置未用)呈黑灰色

L13.9cm, H10.6cm

Picture taken after dry-up of usage . Notice its shiny jade-like appearance

使用晾干后颜色再度变暗。


picture showing particles of TianQing clay, from Mr LIU Yulin, author of the book《阳羡茗砂土》。 图片来自《阳羡茗砂土》 作者刘玉林先生




By comparison, a teapot previously considered made of "Republic green" clay should also made of TianQing clay. It clearly developed a satiny sheen after only a few day's usage.

相比之下,先前歸類為“民国綠”的史继长壺也应是青泥泡养两三周后变得银光闪烁



Carousel imageCarousel image

Bamboo Yixing Teapot JingYuanZhai JichangZhi mark of TianQing Clay清康熙静远斋继长制天青泥竹段壶

Kangxi Reign of Qing dynasty (1662-1722). It changes color and has variations of colors, characteristic of TianQing Clay. JingYuanZhai is the residence name of the 17th son 允礼 of the Kangxi Emperor.

What's interesting with this teapot is that there are a few Purple areas with this Green teapot , likely the effect of the TianQing Clay. This is exactly as what ZHOU Gaoqi of Ming dynasty said in his book "it shows a bizarre effect after firing".

有趣的是,这把绿色壶有几个紫色區域,推测可能也为天青泥的缘故。正如明代周高起所说"烧成后显示光怪陆离的效果"


My 3rd teapot of likely TianQing clay is the one made by YANG Pengnia. This one currently has a dark liver color and most likely has never been used.

我的第三壺是楊彭年造的泥绘合斗壶。目前,它呈暗肝色,很可能從未使用過。


In total, I have a total of 3 teapots which are mostly likely of TianQing clay: the YANG Pengnian has dark liver color, the SHAO Hengyu is greenish after water soaking, the SHI Jichang is greenish with a round area of purple color. Apparently all 3 of them were made in the Qing dynasty.

總的來說,我總共有3把可能的天青泥壶:楊年的暗肝色合斗壶, 邵亨裕款水浸泡後呈青里透綠,史继长的顏色呈綠色而且有一圓形區域呈紫色。顯然,這三都是在清朝製造的。

In total, I have a total of 3 teapots which are mostly likely of TianQing clay:Teapot by YANG Fengnian (The sister of YANG Pengnian). The two pictures shows the same teapot. The first pictures doesn't look like TianQing clay. But the second picture does.

杨凤年凤卷葵是天青泥的说法值得证实(上一张照片不像,下一张有些像)

the YANG Pengnian has dark liver color, the SHAO Hengyu is greenish after water soaking, the SHI Jichang is greenish with several purple areas. Apparently all 3 of them were made in the Qing dynasty.

總的來說,我總共有3把可能的天青泥壶:楊年的暗肝色合斗壶, 邵亨裕款水浸泡後呈青里透綠,史继长的顏色呈綠色而且有一圓形區域呈紫色。顯然,這三都是在清朝製造的。

Teapot by YANG Fengnian (The sister of YANG Pengnian). The two pictures shows the same teapot. The first pictures doesn't look like TianQing clay. But the second picture does.

杨凤年凤卷葵是天青泥的说法值得证实(上一张照片不像,下一张有些像)



We believe the teapot above made by YANG Fengnian of Qing dynasty is likely of TianQing clay.

清代杨凤年制作的风卷葵是天青泥的说法有待进一步证实。

What is NOT TianQing Clay 什么不是天青泥

All over the internet, most people wrongly put Republic green as TianQing clay. In fact, the mines have exhausted TianQing clay in the Qing dynasty. Anyone who is selling freshly made TianQing clay teapots are either ignorant or scams.


在互聯網上,大多數人錯誤地將“民国綠”作為“天青泥”。錯了。天青礦在清朝已經用盡了。這樣的黏土已經不復存在了(除了劉玉林先生從剩余的礦井中撿拾來的很少的天青泥外)。出售新鮮製作的天青泥茶壺的人不是愚昧無知就是騙局。


Republic Green. Not TianQing clay 朱可心民国绿提梁壶



In Summary 总结


TianQing clay is so rare and precious, it can be safely said that if the teapot sells below $10k, it is not TiqnQing clay.

Characteristics of TianQing clay:

1) It vanished in late Qing dynasty (it is better to think this way to avoid scams)

2) After firing, it has dark liver color

3) Feel and look very sandy, extreme permeability (so permeable that it gets wet outside when being used), and very easy to produce Zisha appeal.

4) After usage it become very shiny and has a satiny sheen, can turns greenish when it is wet and look like green jade -- therefore the term "Jade of Zisha" with astonishing beauty.

5) It can shows a bizarre effect after firing (notice the color variations with the Bamboo teapot)

There are reason why it is so precious and has rampant scams -- It is rare and beautiful (like any other things in the world)

青泥是如此稀有和珍貴,可以肯定地說,如果茶壺是近些年做的,或者清代做的但售價低於1萬美元,那绝不可能会是天青泥紫砂壶

天青泥的特点

1)清代晚期已经绝迹

2)烧制后呈暗肝色,或青里透绿

3)砂性大,透气好,易泡养 (砂性非常大,透气特别强以至于使用时外壁是湿的,极易泡养用几次就有变化很快会变得像翡翠样)

4)经泡养银光闪烁,使用时会青里透绿,被誉为"紫砂之翡翠"。

5) 烧制后有可能会有奇妙的效果 (例如静远斋继长制竹段壶的颜色变化)


天青泥贵重是有原因的 -- 稀有和美丽 (就像世界上任何其它东西一样)

Reference

  1. 刘玉林,戴银法 《阳羡茗砂土》,四川美术出版社, 2013:84-88

  2. 周高起 《阳羡茗壶系》明代

  3. 徐秀棠,山谷 《宜兴紫砂五百年》,上海辞书出版社,2009:12