Teapots can be divided into several types known as Zhu Ni, Duan Ni, Zi sha,
Hong Ni and Lan Ni.
Zhu Ni is the rarest of them all. This is because it is known that Zhu Ni or
Vermillion Red clay is limited in quantity. Much of this type of clay had
been excavated in large quantities in the second half of the 20th century.
As a result, it is depleted. It is said that such teapots would now costs
thousands of dollars.
Duan Ni is a type of yellowish clay. This type of teapot is still rather
common and can be found in large quantities. Unlike the Zhu Ni it is not
known to have been depleted.
Both Zhu Ni and Duan Ni have countless types of imitations. Many of them are
dyed clay to achieve the vermillion red or yellowish colours. Some
unscrupulous teapots dealers even used ordinary red clay teapots and pass
them off as Zhu Ni teapots.
Zi Sha is the most popular. It is also very common. It has been the
representative colours of clay teapots from China. It also has imitations in
the form of dyed clay. Original Purple clay from Yixing is said to have the
best qualities for making teapots.
Hong Ni is the common type of teapots from Teo Chew - a region in the
Southern China.Usually, the craftsmanship is crude and rough in finishing.
Some of them are used to imitate Yixing teapots and sold by unscrupulous
dealers as the real thing.
When choosing a teapot, it is important to look at the shape, the type of
clay for the makeup, the artistic and creative energies put into it. The
more difficult it is to make the shape or carve out the teapot, the higher
the value. Clay is also judged by its graininess as well as ability to
retain tea flavour and its maleability in forming unusual artistic shapes.
Interview with Mr. Woon Siang Tong