Beginning in the early 16th century, a new ceramic tradition emerged in the town of Yixing (宜興), on the western side of Lake Tai. The most common form was teapot, catering to the tea taste of scholars in the nearby Suzhou area. Individually made, sometimes to order, rather than mass-produced, Yixing ceramic wares were often signed or even poetically inscribed by highly reputable master craftsmen, such as Shi Dabin (時大彬, 1573-1648) of the Wanli era and Chen Mingyuan (陳鳴遠) of the Qing dynasty Kangxi period (1654-1722). The clay wares were usually unglazed and derived their striking colors—brown, beige, reddish purple, yellow, black, and blue—after firing from the distinctive clays of the region and were known as “purple sand” teapots. Pieces alternated between complex floral shapes and exquisitely simple geometric designs. Since the 17th century, Yixing teapots have been exported to Europe, and are also known in the West as Buccaro, or Boccaro, wares.
Gallery of Yixing Purple Sand Teapots