Cart 0

Yixing Bonsai Pots

Yixing is an old pottery city located west of Tai Hu (Lake Tai) and south of the city of Wuxi, in China, where potter ware has already been produced for over 800 years. Today Yixing can be reached within three hours from Shanghai. Yixing is considered the pottery capital of China and the birthplace of Yixing clay, creating the most exquisite bonsai planters using purple sand clay (Zisha). Purple Clay is the English translation for "Zisha", the Chinese name for the unique stoneware clay found only in Yixing, China. All of the raw materials of Yixing bonsai pots comes from natural, local mountains that contain vast quantities of this special purple mud or clay.  The purple clay is considered the very highest quality material for making these historical ceramic bonsai pots. Zisha pots are fired to 2200 degrees F., which transforms these pots to become stronger and more durable than the finest terra cotta clay!

Purple Clay Bonsai pots are known to be the highest quality containers for the delicate Bonsai root systems, with good moisture absorption, ventilation and drainage. Purple clay comes in three natural colors: red, greenish-yellow and purple and is noted for its color, texture and natural porosity.  Zisha clay is primarily composed of quartz, kaolin and mica with high amounts of iron oxide, which gives the clay the purple or red color.

Zisha clay is a kind of rare mineral resource made from compressed sedimentary lake deposits and can be found throughout the Yixing region.  There are actually three main varieties of Zisha clay. The most common is the Zini or purple clay. The other two more rare clays are known as Zhuni (red clay), and Banshanlv (greenish-yellow) clays.  The high content of metallic oxides in the Zisha clay, along with the atmosphere and the kiln temperature, determines the main variations of color in the finished stoneware.

During the Song Dynasty Era (960-1279), zisha clay was first mined around Lake Taihu and originally utilized for tea and penjing pots. Throughout the last 30 years bonsai pot production has seen explosive growth in Yixing, with many of the master potters and kilns producing pots to rival the famous Tokoname kilns, however today unfortunately the supply of Yixing clay appears to be dwindling.

On some of the undersides of the planters, a stamp or 'chop' is pressed into the clay. Each pot is handmade with many of the artists placing their chop (signature) on the bottom. These pots are very collectible and as an artist’s reputation expands, can become quite valuable. These marks are the names of the artisans who worked on the pot.

All of our Bonsai pots are hand made by skilled potters. We have carefully selected pots that will complement and complete your Bonsai vision!