Introduction of Yixing Zisha Bonsai Pot

May 24th, 2010 | By | Category: Bonsai Pots, Featured Articles

Yixing-Clay-Bonsai-PotIt is said that if we use a Yixing zisha teapot for many years, we can brew tea just by pouring boiling water into the empty pot. Highly praised for its porous nature, which works wonders in absorbing the flavor of tea, Yixing clay makes awesome teapots, while at the same time, is also an excellent material for making bonsai pot.

Yixing clay potteries are usually left unglazed. With Yixing clay’s porous nature, Yixing bonsai pot is excellent in moisture absorption and ventilation, very suitable for the growth of bonsai trees. Moreover, the unpretentious earthy tones and subtle beauty give more reasons for the bonsai enthusiast to fall in love with these bonsai pots that are made of Yixing clay.

Yixing – The Capital of Chinese Pottery

Yixing (宜興) is located in the Taihu Lake drainage area of Yangtze River Delta, about three-hour drive away from Shanghai, or an hour from Wuxi. Enjoying the reputation as “the capital of Chinese pottery”, Yixing is splendid in the pottery culture and tea culture.

Yixing Clay

Yixing clay has been made into pottery for thousands of years in the Yixing area. While there are Yixing potteries showcased in museums dating back as far as 6,000 years ago, many would agree that Yixing/zisha pottery started in the Northern Song Dynasty and flourished in the Ming and Qing Dynasty. Yixing clay occurs naturally in three characteristic colors: purplish brown (zisha clay, 紫砂泥), light greenish buff (鍛泥), and cinnabar red (朱泥). Other colors are created by mixing these three colors or by adding mineral pigments.

There is a household story about the discovery of Yixing clay.

Long, long ago, a monk came to Yixing one day and told the locals that he had something valuable to show. People of Yixing were curious and followed the monk into a cave, where the monk suddenly disappeared without any trace. While the local people of Yixing couldn’t find the monk, they found a very unique kind of clay – Yixing zisha clay.


You may also be interested in this article – Bonsai Pots of Different Materials

6 Comments to “Introduction of Yixing Zisha Bonsai Pot”

  1. Jeff says:

    Hi Sandy,

    Would you know if yixing clay is high-fired to withstand extremely cold temperatures? I love these pots, and have several of them, but don’t want to use them for trees kept outdoors all year in our climate. Temperatures in the winter here can fall to -20 to -25 degrees C (on rare occasions lower than this).



  2. Sandy Sandy says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Sorry for the late reply. Somehow I missed this message of yours.

    Zisha pot is baked somewhere between 1100-1200 C. After baked in such high temperature (higher than regular clay), Zisha clay will melt, decompose and shrink, leaving the clay with many micro pores. And with this physical characteristic, pots that are made in Zisha don’t crack in huge temperature differences.

    While I have never tested a Zisha pot in such cold temperature, I guess they won’t crack even in such cold temperature. You can give it a try. But of course, I wouldn’t suggest you to test this with the nicest, dearest ones 🙂

    Happy Bonsai!

  3. Yee Kai Ming says:

    Hi Sandy,
    I am calling from Malaysia here and our country bonsai events are very effectively progressing now as I have gone through the web site. I am very new to Bonsai tree , just started not long ago. All these while I was growing adenium trees and because the adenium consist of bonsai shape, I started to learn how to develope it to the highest level. I have bought several pots of bonsai and they are really beautiful and make me crazy everyday(work). Here, I would like to ask about the tree name because the other day one chinese man trying to speak in mandarin about China popular trees. I can’t really understand him because I have not study chinese words(character) before. Could you translate or give me the top 8 bonsai plants name (China) so that I will label them on my pots.
    Thank you for your assistant.

    Kai Ming

  4. Sandy Sandy says:

    Hi Kai Ming,

    I am a bit confused with your request. Do you want me to do some translation for you from English to Chinese or vise verse? If so, please give me the 8 names in English/Chinese and I will try to get you the names in the other language.

    Happy Bonsai!

  5. Geoff says:

    hey jeff im just wondering what kind of bonsai tree will survive at -25 F? Blue spruce? Balsam Fir?

  6. Michael says:

    My thought on winter freezing pots… When concern for freezing temperatures and pottery, almost any kind of pottery will break if enough water is in the soil during the cold periods. When the water freezes it expands the soil/ice thus cracking a pot. You can line your pots with bubble wrap (not breathable for roots though). if the pot is designed to be “open” the soil may expand up and out the top of the pot, but if the rim or lip of the pot is curved inward the soil will not be allowed to expand upward and out, thus causing the soil to expand into the walls of the pot and breaking. So it depends on the pot, how thick the walls are, how absorbent the walls are, how cold it really gets, how wet the soil is etc..
    Michael LaRoche, Studio Potter

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