Famous Purple Pot Masters & Purple Clay Pot Patterns

Purple clay pot in burl shape, made by Gong Chun (Ming Dynasty 1368-1644)

10.2cm in height, 19.6cm in width, it is now kept in the History Museum of China.

Big purple clay pot with handle in begonia shape (Ming Dynasty 1368-1644)

The earliest purple clay pot that we find is a pot with handle, excavated from the tomb of Wu Jian, an eunuch in the Ming Dynasty, at Majia Mountain, Zhong Hua Men, Nanjian in 1965. This pot is 17.7cm in height with the mouth of 7cm diameter. According to the engraved annals of this tomb, this pot was made in 1533. It is the only ancient purple clay utensil that has exact annals in China at the moment. With simple craftsmanship and made for an eunuch, it was not a precious pot at the time.

Purple clay pot with mountain, river and poem pattern in gold, made by Yang Pengnian (Qing Dynasty 1644-1911)

Yang Pengnian was a famous ceramic craftsman in the Qing Dynasty, one of the masters of purple clay pot making. He mainly made pots during the region of Emperor Jiangqing and Emperor Daoguang (1796-1850)

Round smooth pot --- Pear skin red pot in the Meng Chen style (Late Qing Dynasty)

Smooth square pot

Purple clay pot with bamboo handle, made by Yang Fengnian (Qing Dynasty)

Purple clay pot with fish changing to dragon pattern, made by Shao DaHeng (Qing Dynasty)

Octagonal chrysanthemum pedal pot (Region of Wanli, Ming Dynasty)

Water caltrop shape pot of Chen Mingyuan (Qing Dynasty)

The pot with fruit decoration (Qing Dynasty 1644-1911)

The pot with lotus pattern and carved SHOU (longevity) (Region of Emperor Qianlong, Qing Dynasty)

Purple clay square tea pot with bamboo design ( First half of the 20th century)

Purple clay pot with bamboo-shaped wall, eight diagrams pattern and dragon spout (Qing Dynasty 1644-1911)

Shi Dabin, the Pot Master

Shi Dabin(1573-1648) was a master of making purple clay pot during the region of Emperor Wanli, the Ming Dynasty to Emperor Shunzi, the Qing Dynasty. In Ming Dynasty, when purple clay pots were extremely popular, Shi was named “magic pot maker”, which showed his skill of making pots. Shi Peng, his father, was a master of making pot in Yixing at that time. Deeply influenced by his father and after hard study and work, Shi Dabin finally exceeded his father in pot making skills, and the art of purple clay pot making was raised to a more complete and mature level.

Shi Dabin was the first one to use “fit sand in making pot” method. By mixing sand into pug, it changed the way to join purple clay slices, which was a big step in pot making skill. Purple clay pots used to be very big. Shi Dabin was inspired by scholars and changed the size from big to small, which integrated literary feeling with pot making skill. He was serious at making pots. If the product was not satisfying, he would destroy it without hesitation. He made thousands of pots during his lifetime, but very few of them were passed down to later generations. In the region of Emperor Qianglong, the Qing Dynasty, his works had already been taken as treasures.