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Home > Cities & Towns > Yixing

Yixing


Ceramics Museum  Sea of bamboos
Ceramics Museum   Sea of bamboos


General Information
Yixing, dubbed the Pottery Capital of China, is a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Wuxi. With its fabulous unglazed clay teapots - Yixing Teapots, the city is only the place where you can find such clay soil called Zisha in its hilly areas but no where else.

In 221 B.C. during the Qin Dynasty, the ancient county jurisdiction was established, calling Yangxian at the time. In history, the county was mostly under the prefecture jurisdictions of either Yangzhou or Changzhou. Yixing, as a county name, was first introduced in 976 A.D. during the Song Dynasty.


Geography, Resources and Climate
Yixing is located in the South of Jiangsu Plain, bordering Changzhou, Jintan, Liyang, Changxin of Zhejiang Province and Guangde of Anhui Province. The Lake of Tai lies on its east, facing Suzhou across the lake. The hilly area is in the southern part of the city but the flat land is located in the north.

Nature resources include water, minerals and bamboo. Yixing has a unique stoneware clay produced only on the Sushan Hill of the city, which is an essential material to make Yixing Teapots. The clay is usually red or brown in color and very cohesive. Due to the increasing demand for the teapots, the clay is now limited quantities.

Tea trees and bamboo are additional resources for Yixing. These tea trees supply the city’s tea manufacture sector the unique tea leaves for a green tea brand, Yangxian Tea, which is one of three best green tea brands in China.

A bamboo species, phyllostachys, is another resource for Yixing. The city has 12,000 hectares of the bamboo which provides the city the raw bamboo fibers to manufactures.

The city is under the influence of East Asia Monsoon, like its neighbors. It has a mild and humid climate and seasons are distinct. The average annual temperature is close to 16ºC and the highest average 28ºC in July. The normal precipitation is around 1,200 mm yearly.


Administration and Jurisdiction
The city has the jurisdiction over 14 towns, 1 national eco-protection industrial park and 2 provincial development districts. The municipal government is stationed in the Town of Yicheng.


Area and Population
Yixing has a physical land mass of 2,039 square kilometers including 208 square kilometers of the Lake of Tai. Its population is around one million.


Economy, Industry and Environment
Yixing is a traditional agriculture land and its farm income was once the most critical revenue for the city. The importance of agriculture in the past two decades has become less decisive and has been shrinking over years. Now the farming income occupies only less than 10% of the city’s total GDP.

The city’ economy is in a fast expansion now, thanks to incoming investments nationally and internationally. Now Yixing hosts five industrial parks, including a national scientific industrial park for investors related to environment protection. The city has been listed one of top ten cities of The China Top 100 cities for its comprehensive economic strength for 5 years in a row.

Yixing's teapot manufacture is a big business for the city and tens of thousand of Yixing Zisha teapots are manufactured, sold and exported each year. The industrial sector is unique in China and provides thousands of job opportunities.

The city has spent significant funds to protect its environment and reduce the air pollution from greenhouse gas emission. Many environment polluters have been ordered to be shut down. However, the pollution is still a big problem and many residents and farmers complained consistently. The contaminated waters killed aquatic lives in some rivers or poisoned farm crops. In 2007, the blooms of blue-green algae in the Lake of Tai had severely disrupted drinking water supplies and forced as many as five millions people to rely on bottled water. It is a sincere hope that the industrialization will not damage the city’ environment.


Transportation and Tourism
Yixing is not connected by two major road transportation lines, Hunin (Shanghai-Nanjing) Railway and Hunin Expressway, between Nanjing to Shanghai. But two railway lines do connect the city to its neighborhood, Ninhang (Nanjing-Hangzhou) Railway and Xinchang (Xinyi-Changxing) Railway, and they merged in the city’s territory. Two expressways, Ninhang (Nanjing-Hangzhou) and Xiyi (Wuxi-Yixing), also link the city.

Yixing water transport is convenient and the Lake of Tai and its water network provide the city an alternative in transportation.

The best tourist attraction in consideration would be its traditional pottery culture, which has been listed as one of national non-substance heritages. The tradition started in the North Song Dynasty and became thriving in the Ming and the Qing. Attractive locations needed to visit include the Yixing Pottery Museum, the Yixing Teapot Museum and factories where you can view how to make these lovely pots. Or go to teapot shops to buy one for your family. Don’t forget to test its best tea in a teahouse.

With abundant underground water resource, Yixing is well known for its marvelous caves, including Zhanggong, Linggu and Shanjuan. Some of those caves were found and visited by tourist as early as in 1930s. All the caves can be reached by buses from Yixing or Wuxi and you can spend a pleasant day going around.

The Longchi Mountain is 35 km far away from the city’s urban area and is a forest nature reserve. The mountain is near 500 meters tall and 95% of the area is covered by forest, which is an excellent habitat for wild birds and animals.


Education
Yixing has well instituted compulsory primary education system. The secondary schools including high schools achieves significant graduate rate.


Culture and Folklore
Yixing’s pottery culture can be tracked back to the North Song Dynasty (960-1127 A.D.) and became thriving in the Ming (1368-1683 A.D.) and the Qing (1636-1911 A.D.) dynasties. According to records, the clay used for making these teapots is only available from the hilly area of the city. The clay is called Zisha, or purple clay, though is actually comes in other colours as well, from light brown to red. The clay is rich of quartz, kaolin, mica and iron oxide. It is the iron oxide that gives the reddish color to the clay. This clay is porous when fired and is ideal for the making of teapots. Over time, the clay absorbs the flavors and volatilized oil from the tea and releases them later. The teapots have become popular in China since the North Song Dynasty and were traded to many countries including Briton, Portugal, Dutch, Japan, etc. Besides teapots, Yixing also produces many other pottery stuff including cup, bottle, tripod, plate, bowl, etc.

Yixing sponsors a pottery festival to celebrate and promote its pottery products every two years.


Notable Personage
There are totally 23 academicians who are natives of Yixing. An academician is the highest ranking scientist in China’s prestigious academic society. Yingxi is at the top in all of China cities for its number of academicians who called Yixing their hometown.

Other notable natives include Xu Beihong and Wu Guanzhong, two of most famous painters in China, Pan Shu, the most respected psychologist and once the president of the Central University in the Republic of China, Jiang Nanxiang, an educator and the minister of the Ministry of Education in China.

Many well-known artists and technologists, who contributed their lives to the pottery culture, research and manufacture, include Shi Dabing and Gung Chun in history.


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