Jian Shui is an ancient Chinese town in Southern Yunnan Province, about 100 miles north of the border with Vietnam and Laos. This 1,200-year-old town is known for its beautiful teaware that can only be created with the type of clay found nowhere else in China.
The Five Color Mountain is the source of the extraordinary earth that contains no sand in the natural colors of Cyan, White, Red, Yellow, and Purple. The clay's fine composition allows the Jian Shui artisans to create hand-crafted tea ware and pottery that can be polished to a semi-gloss or high gloss sheen using river rocks to produce a surface that appears to be glazed but is not.
Using these primary colors, or mixing them on the artist's pallet to create new colors, the artisans uniquely decorate their art. Intricate designs are carved into the body of the pottery and then inlaid with the various colors of clay. The result is beautiful pottery, decorated with the subtle shades of the clay mud. It appears that the designs have been painted on the surface of the piece, but the art is inlaid into the body of the pottery. This time-consuming process results in lovely, usually simple designs that reflect the artist's thoughts. Most pieces also have ancient Chinese characters, also inlaid into the body of the teaware, with a verse or text on which the owner can meditate while enjoying a cup of freshly brewed Pu'er or other tea.
The Artists & The Shop
I have personally selected and touched each piece presented in this collection. I work directly with Mr. Su, who has assembled several artists in his studios to create these beautiful pieces. Mr. Su's Boutique is called "One Hundred Years of Spring" and their logo and motto is the thought that "Spring is Coming". That simple phrase represents the circle of life and its renewal. Regardless of what is happening in your life "Spring is Coming" and you will be renewed. You will find this comforting thought carefully inlaid into most pieces in this collection as a red background with light yellow characters. Thank you, Mr. Su, for this simple but powerful thought.
Mr. Su, and the lovely Lin Ya Xue, have introduced me to the artists that are creating this teaware and I have watched them work in their studio. I have tried my hand at each step in the process, under their tutelage, but you don't want to see the result. It has given me an appreciation for their artistic vision and the skills and patience they use to create their special teaware.
The staff at Mr. Su's "Hundred Years of Spring" Boutigue
The Special People of Jian Shui
Matching the beauty of the Jian Shui tea ware and pottery is the beautiful people of this ancient town. The hospitality, and friendliness of everyone I have met in Jian Shui exceed that of any place I have visited in my travels along the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Below are the pictures of three beautiful and friendly shopkeepers that I work with in Jain Shui in Mr. Su's shop. They are holding one of the Jian Shui teapots that is available in this collection. "Spring is Coming" in Jian Shui and "Spring is Coming" into your life.
林雅雪 Lin Ya Xue
邹凤凰 Zou Fong Huang
吴海燕 Wu Hai Yan
Want to learn more about Jian Shui tea ware and pottery? Visit the Cultural Insights newsletter about Adventures on The Ancient Tea Horse Road in Jian Shui and the learn the eight steps used to create this beautiful pottery.
I can shop for you at artists' studios along the Ancient Tea Horse Road. If you want a custom piece made by a Jian Shui artisan to your specifications, your art, your text - contact me via private message and I can visit the artist and commission the work for you.