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Buying Yixing


Purchasing authentic Yixing pots is a bit harder than your average every day purchase. I see a lot of beginners flock to familiar marketplaces such as amazon and aliexpress only to walk away having been duped. Or buying the first pot labeled "Yixing" from their favorite tea vendor. There are two main rules that I always tell new people off the bat.

Number one:

If it is under one hundred dollars USD it is pretty undoubtedly fake.

(see "spotting fakes")

Number two:

Large generalized marketplaces will never carry real Yixing. No amazon, alibaba, wish, etc will ever have anything but mass produced fakes.


Before we talk about purchasing we have to talk about all the different price affecting factors. The price of Yixing can swing pretty wildly based on three categories. Craftsmanship, clay quality and age/notoriety. 


Slip Cast/Centrifuge

These pots are made by liquifying clay and injecting it into a mold. Because of this pots are all the same size and shape and typically have some imperfections. More modern productions throw clay into a rotating centrifuge to form the pot to the mold.

This method is exclusively used by factories and almost always uses cheap non Yixing clay with color additives to pass it off as authentic. You can easily identify these because the joinery in the handle, spout, and bottom will have no signs of hand tooling. These pots also tend to be crazy colors or very fancy shapes but are extremely cheap. Some also carry a chemical smell.



These pots are made by using more modern implements such as templates and guides to form a pot. The clay is cut into slabs by hand, formed using an implement, then joined together by hand. 

These pots require a lot of skill to make, do not be thrown off by the use of templates. Apprentice potters or Masters who need to make inventory to sell use this method. Pots are quality but not unique as the templates ensure uniformity.

Fully Handmade

These pots are constructed completely by hand with traditional tools. 

Fully hand made pots are entirely one of a kind. You will see the same tooling lines as half handmade, however the shape will be less perfect due to not having a template. This is not a bad thing. Fully handmade pots tend to go for more elaborate artful designs because of this. 

White Background

Clay Quality

Mentioned on this site are the clay types, however within those types you can have varying quality of the ore, or the processing of the ore. Any Yixingware should feel like handmade paper, a bit rough but not irritatingly so. The surface should not reflect light perfectly; it should have diffused soft reflections. Water should disappear as if being drunk by the clay. When the lid of the pot is hit against the body (please gently) the sound should be high pitched like porcelain. The surface should have little black dots: Tierong 铁熔, tiny white dots: Yunmu 云母, tiny divots: Tiaosha 跳砂, and finally tiny bumps: Baozi 爆子. All of these things come from the mineral content of Yixing clay or the high firing temperature of the pottery. The clay should not be a vibrant color. All fired ores produce muted earth tones. Most modern clay after 1980 is processed with Barium Carbonate. This is to prevent leaching of salt to the surface or Efflorescence. This is one of very few additives considered safe.


A pots age and notoriety can heavily effect the price of the ware. In a general sense, the older it is the more it will fetch. The status of the artist can also play a large roll in pricing. There are certain eras in Yixing history that are infamous. The best example is Factory number one in the late 70's. During this point in time China had a government ran factory producing half handmade mostly Shui Ping style Yixing pots with extremely high quality ore. These pots are referred to as "Green label" because of the green "Made in China" sticker they came with. A normal modern Shui Ping is around 120USD where one of these Green label pots can go for 500USD. China also has a registery and ranking system for potters. Independent potters works will be the cheapest. Ranked potters work will increase in price proportionate to their achieved rank. 

Yixingware serves a functional purpose to aid in the brewing and serving of tea. However, they can also be viewed as art. There are numerous guides across the internet advising that you should check for the way the pot pours and if it’s silent, or the tightness of the lid. A Lot of these guides do not consider alternative purposes. If you want a functional pot for the best tea for one then you are probably going to look for a half handmade 120ml-ish simple shape like shuiping with a tight lid and great pour. But if you are wanting a display piece you might want a fully handmade large intricate piece made of rare clay and have no regard to how well it handles tea. All in all the pot should fit your needs. Size should also be considered buying a 300ml pot for tea for one is a bit silly. Buying a pot with a tiny lid opening is not wise when all you drink is large leaf white tea.

Alignment to Purpose

Now that you have a general idea of what you want as far as size, shape, production method, how do you go about finding a trustworthy seller? The first thing I always look for is abundance of information. You ideally want a product listing with pictures of the pot's inside, bottom seal, close up of texture, filter, spout and handle seams, etc. The listing should have information on the clay type as well as the artist who made it. The listing should clearly define the pot as hand made or half handmade, intentionally avoiding this detail is a huge red flag. Most tea vendors work with a single potter or studio to produce half handmade pots. The reputable vendors typically have blog posts and pictures documenting this. Some even with interviews with the artists. THE MORE INFORMATION THE BETTER. You're looking for transparency. Beyond that you should check out the "spotting fakes" page of this site. If you are buying online it is impossible to employ some of these tactics, but the majority of them are visual so it should give you some good guidance. 

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