Known as "The Pottery Capital Of China." The world's first teapots were created in Yixing (pronounced Yee Shing) during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD.) Imperial edict called for the development and use of loose leaf teas rather than the compressed forms of earlier dynasties. To this day, the distinctive earthenware teapots are considered the best vessel for brewing tea. It is said that the flavor of the tea is enhanced when brewed in an Yixing teapot. There are several color variations cause by differing mineral levels. The most traditional colors of zisha or "purple clay," range from a milk chocolate to a reddish brown. Research has shown that the local sedimentary clay used to make authentic Yixing ware is lead free. This may not be the case for replicas made elsewhere.
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