Zisha Teapots – Introduction

With so many Zisha teapots in the market, there needs to be a way to group them so that we can know how to differentiate between them. Here are four ways of classifying Zisha teapots:

  1. Clay Type
  2. Shape
  3. Style
  4. Making Process/Craftwork

Every Zisha teapot gets its own unique identity after going through all four classification methods. Old teapots get a fifth criterion – age. However, the age criterion is not discussed in this article.

Clay Type:

The main types of Zisha clay used in making teapots are:

  1. Zi Ni (Purple Clay)
  2. Hong Ni (Red Clay)
  3. Duan Ni (Amalgamate Clay)


Here are three of the most popular shapes: Shi Piao (Stone Dipper), Xi Shi (Chinese Beauty) and Shui Ping (Water Level). Other commonly found shapes are Yuan Zhu (Round Bead), Long Dan (Dragon Egg), Pear (Si Ting), Pumpkin (Nan Gua) and Han Wa (Han Tile). This list is not exhaustive.


Besides shapes, we can also look at how the teapots are styled in order to group them in another way, using the embellishments or lack of embellishments on them, and also the form factor. Thus, teapots can be classified as unadorned/plain; embellished/adorned with naturalistic elements such as flowers and animals; or ribbed/segmented.

Making Process/Craftwork:

The better Zisha teapots are either fully handmade or half-handmade by skilled artists. Cheaper ones are churned out using machines and moulds. Therefore, handmade ones are pricier. Teapots made by skilled artists registered and ranked by government organisations in China can be costly.

NEXT: Choosing a teapot