Developmental History of Yixing Mining

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Zisha ore has been mined and refined since the mid-Ming dynasty, in and around Dingshuzhen (丁蜀镇) township, in Yixing City (宜兴市), Jiangsu (江苏) province[1]. Yixing is often divided into 4 mining regions: Huang Long Shan (黄龙山), Qing Long Shan (青龙山), Zhaozhuang Zhen (赵庄镇), and Hongwei Cun (红卫村); each of these regions contain numerous sub-regions and mines. The mines founded or expanded during the late Ming dynasty are today considered the “original” source for zisha ore and given the designation benshan (本山, “original mountain”); the definition is subject to debate and thus benshan may refer exclusively to Huang Long Shan (黄龙山), to Huang Long Shan and Qing Long Shan, or to multiple early mining areas throughout Yixing, depending on the ore, individual, and context[2].

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