Masters of the purple clay

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2021-02-20 09:33
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Fan Weiqun, 50, a master of purple clay craft in Yixing, illustrates to his desciple how to create the intricate details on a teapot. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

One of them is Fan Weiqun, 51, the fourth generation in a family of purple clay craftsmen, whose studio is in the same building as Dasheng Art Museum, where the achievements of his forebears are on display.

Dasheng was an artistic name of Fan Guangshan (1847-1902). When his fame rose as a purple clay teapot maker it was said that not even 1,000 taels of gold would be enough to secure a Dasheng teapot. His son Fan Qinren (1875-1941) inherited the name Dasheng and took the name to a higher level, his creations being displayed in exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and winning gold medals.

When Fan Weiqun was a child the handicraft of teapot making had more or less been forgotten in the family, he said. Only one pot had survived and "we saw it only during Lunar New Year, when my father would use it to make tea", he says, sitting in his studio, pouring tea for visitors from a pot of his own making.

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