The Mines of Yixing

This chapter represents an attempt to codify encyclopediatic knowledge of the depository pattern of Yixing ore, the developmental history of the ore’s extraction via the development of mining technology, and the characteristics of the famous named ores from each mining area.  While every attempt has been made to build this chapter into an applied framework for understanding Yixing ore, knowledge of Yixing’s mining geology and specific ore characteristics is difficult to apply, as it is rare for purchasers of Yixing teapots to have the means and methods to verify a fired wares clay-provenance, and rarer still to have access to a (verified) matching ore sample of the fired ware. Thus, the knowledge presented here will likely, for most, only be useful as a reference. Where this chapter excels, beyond historical interest in Yixing’s mining development, is in providing applied knowledge on the expected characteristic of the named clays, including clays resulting from pure ore and traditional blends; the consideration of these characteristics includes information on each ore’s mineralogical impurities, inherent variation, average sintering temperature, and common flaws[1]. The applied knowledge presented here is thus foundational for understanding the pairing of fired zisha clay and tea.

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