Yunnan clay is one of the four famous clays of China. This purple clay comes from the Wan Yao Village in Yunnan. It is made from five different colors of local clay. The basic clay production techniques originated in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the polishing and decoration techniques were developed in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1913.)
These pieces are hand made by the native Yunnan people. After the pot is initially made, before firing it is painted with a design. The artist then engraves the painted pattern, removing the paint and filling the engraving with a different color clay. The container is then fired. The resulting finished product and design is then entirely made of clay. The clay breathes, and contains no lead or chemicals. The pots are hand polished and contain no glaze. The Yunnan people have traditionally used these pots to store tea and food. The darker colors, such as black, are made by the use of high temperatures (about 1300 degrees centigrade.) Each piece is unique and colors and patterns vary. To see a slideshow of how Yunnan Clay Pottery is made see Yunnan Clay Trip.
To wash Yunnan Clay rinse in hot water but do not use soap.
I received my pot today (Shaokang Yunnan clay container A) and it is a true work of art. It is amazing the polish on it without the use of glaze. You ask before why I buy so many tea canisters. this pot is one of the reasons why. Not only is it functional as I have many different teas here but each hand crafted piece is a representation of generations of skilled craftsman handing down their skills to the following generations. Such love and devotion to a craft should be honored, collected and cared for in the same fashion that was put into the making of such a beautiful and elegant piece. I will be sending another order next week for another piece if you still have it. Happy Chinese new year and may the Dragon this year bring you much success. --JT