Yixing bonsai pots
Production of bonsai pots - general Production of slip cast bonsai pots Production of handmade bonsai pots
In the pottery city of Yixing (China), hundreds of potteries produce a wide variety of ceramic goods. Many dozens of potteries specialize in the famous Yixing bonsai pots.
Both inexpensive bonsai pots for indoor bonsai and very high-quality handcrafted bonsai pots for outdoor bonsai are made from the well-known Yixing clay and exported all over the world. Most of the world's bonsai pots are made in Yixing today. There is probably hardly a bonsai friend without a Yixing bonsai pot.
Thanks to the hard work of the potters, the whole Yixing region has developed quickly and well.
Dingshu (the actual pottery town) was at our 1.visit by Chinese standards a village with almost 100000 inhabitants. 20 years later more than 1 million people live in Dingshu and the former village is no longer recognizable. All streets are new, 2-4 lanes, many districts have been completely renovated and offer good living conditions.
Yixing (Dingshu) - past and present
With such a stormy development, the wages of the workers have improved dramatically from around 80 euro a month (2001) to now more than 1000 euro, often significantly more. And even for that, there are hardly any workers to be found for the pottery, which unfortunately is reflected in significant price increases for the bonsai pots. Small, good bonsai pots could be found in 2001 for around 0.40 euros. Identical bonsai pots now cost 12 euro and more. But - with the industriousness of the people there, it is to be granted to them.
Bonsai pots and teapots from Yixing
The Yixing purple clay
Yixing clay (also Yixing purple clay, Zisha clay, Yixing purple sand) was mined for the first time in the Song Dynasty 1000 years ago and used to make teapots and penjing bowls. In the last few decades the use of this clay has been extended to the production of bonsai pots.
The Yixing purple clay is mined in the hills around Lake Taihu near Shanghai. It has a very fine consistency and is suitable for high-quality ceramic goods. Before use, the clay is ground in large drum mills.
After many years of clay mining, the reserves of clay seem to be slowly dwindling nowadays. This has a significant impact on the price of the Yixing bonsai pots. Good Yixing bonsai pots now cost as much as good Japanese bonsai pots.
Burning of bonsai pots in a tunnel kiln or gas kiln
Until a few years ago, there were still many old coal-fired tunnel kilns in the Yixing region. Some of these kilns are 40-50m long. In the entrance side of the tunnel kiln, dried ceramic raw material is continuously pressed onto firebrick panels with a hydraulic press.
After many hours the fired bonsai pots or pottery appear on the exit side.
In the meantime, most potteries have radically switched to gas kilns, which are much more gentle on people and the environment.