Hongni (红泥, “red clay”) is a category of zisha ore and clay named for the fired material’s notable red color. During the late Ming dynasty, hongni was included in the category “zhusha” (朱砂, “vermilion sand”; now generally called “zhuni”). With the growing understanding of zisha ores in the late-Qing-or-early-Republic, zhuni and hongni were separated into distinct categories; before their distinction, there was little or no clear differentiation between clay refined from the more common hongni ore and rarer zhuni ore – thus nearly all antique hongni wares are composed of blended zhuni clay.
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