'Zhi Ye' Glaze Teacup : Xing Xiang [Yu Xinrong] Jingdezhen
Please note that each of these cups varies in size and pattern - if you would like to choose then get in touch after you have ordered and we will send you a picture with a selection to choose from!
Michelle explains how we found she met Xing Xiang : On my first trip around Taoxichuan market in Jingdezhen I came across Yu Xinrong and his wife. Their beautiful cups drew me in. Born in December 1984 Yu is a graduate of Hebei Qinhuangdao Yanshan University where he studied at the sculpture art and design institute. On the year of his graduation, 2012, he started his business and is one of the new generation of young ceramicists who want to develop a new take on traditional ceramics and continue the tradition of Jingdezhen.
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Extract from Tales of the Tea Trade
Born in 1987 in Jingzhou, Wubei Province, Xing Xiang followed the teaching and guidance of Professor Sun Ji Dong, focusing his research in the Buddha Arts of the Wei and Jin dynasties and graduating with a bachelor degree from the University of Yan Shan in 2012. After traveling he settled in Jindezhen to continue his research in ceramic materials, vessels, and the art of Buddha sculptures before establishing his studio in 2014 to create and research Buddha sculptures, tea wares and various other utensils. He spent three years researching the glaze art of ‘Zhi Ye’, successfully developing his own specific glaze, which he applies to his artworks.
Kiki: ‘We only use Jindezhen’s natural mineral clay that contains iron element to produce the vessel body. Different types of clay and glaze have an important influence in tea making. The clay affects not only the pure taste of the tea, but is also important in setting the right aesthetic moods for tea tasting in different environments.’ At home and in the workshop Kiki and Xing Xiang explore tea widely. ‘Generally, as we enter the autumn, we will choose cooked puer tea, sometimes we add a plum making it taste even better. This seems suitable for times when we lack appetite or our intestines and stomach are uncomfortable. Black tea is a year-round favourite, especially Yunnan black tea; we love the scent of sweet potato, and in the winter we may choose to add milk. We generally like to cook white tea in the summer. Jingdezhen is a humid city – it can be very wet – and for us white tea has the medicinal properties that help us overcome summer colds with a sweet bitterless taste.’
Back in the studio Kiki explains more about the ‘Zhi Ye’ glaze. ‘Our glazes are self-made from natural materials, which are red to the ceramics at 1300°C. The appearance of the “ink and wash” patterns in the nal vessel are due to the randomness of how the glaze absorbs the heat and carbon during ring. The resulting patterns are unpredictable – some look like smoke, some like clouds, others are just like ink and wash scenery paintings. Each cup is unique. They are natural, pure and simple.
‘We create “Zhi Ye” ceramics out of pure enjoyment. The artist can follow his heart with freedom in each process, from clay preparation right through to seeing the finished artwork when the kiln door is opened. This freedom and enjoyment comes from the balance between setting high standards and accepting the randomness of nature. We do not chase perfection preferring to concentrate on continuously improving ourselves – applying the skills we learn to create new pieces, without forcing each piece to look identical to previous ones. The enjoyment and excitement we experience is tremendous each time a new artwork comes out of the kiln. You see the heat and smoke imprint and transform every work into a unique ink-and-wash art piece.’