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Great Chinese Anecdotes About Purple Clay

06.11.2009 · Posted in Home and Garden Articles

Intriguing legends about purple clay have been passed on the lips of Chinese tea lovers over time. Through these stories, we get clues about the start of purple clay tea ware and the status a good purple clay teapot may give its owner.nnThe discovery of purple claynn[I:12:J] Long, long ago, in southeast China’s small town named Yixing, the locals were enjoying the tranquility of the country life.nnThen suddenly, the tranquility was broken. A mysterious monk popped up unexpectedly. He walked up and down, calling out, “Lucrative clay! Lucrative clay!” The locals looked around, with no idea what the monk meant. The monk then exclaimed, “Don’t you want to become rich!?” The locals were dumbfounded, and didn’t know how to reply. So the monk closed his mouth, and left.nnOne sly villager decided to find out the hidden meaning, and went after the monk. In a short while, they were at a nearby mountain. However, the monk was gone. The man tried to find the monk once more, but failed. Instead, he only found several freshly-dug caves. He cautiously came up to the mouth of one cave and looked inside. To his surprise, the caves were full of colored clay.nnThe elder took some of the colorful clay back home. He shaped and fired the clay. When the pottery came out of the kiln, he could not believe his eyes, for it featured unique colors. This matter reverberated through the town. The villagers followed the elder’s example, and the Yixing purple clay industry began.nnA pauper with his only purple clay teapotnnA long time ago, an affluent landlord reveled in savoring tea. He was fond of meeting new friends who loved tea as well. He always treated rich and poor visitors equally well, and with good tea.nnOn one occasion, a pauper turned up. He asked for nothing but a cup of tea. A servant prepared one and passed to him. The pauper glanced at the tea, and complained that it was not very tasty.nn”It seems this man has a taste for fine tea,” the servant thought, and then brought in another cup of tea. The pauper smelled at the tea, and remarked, “This tea is all right, but the water is not good. If only you had mountain spring water.”nn”He must be no ordinary pauper,” the servant thought, and then he immediately made another cup of tea with the mountain water kept in the residence. After taking a sip, the pauper made his comment again, “This water is ok, but the firewood is not the best. You know, the firewood from the mountainside facing the sun is too soft, but wood on the other side is usually good.” The servant marveled at the pauper’s words, so he promptly brewed tea once again using the good firewood, and asked the rich man to come out and meet the strange pauper.nnAfter exchanging a few words, the landlord asked his guest to taste tea again. The panhandler drank a small mouthful of tea, and then made a comment, “Now this tea is pretty good. You used the best tea leaves, mountain spring, and firewood. However, the teapot is not good enough.” “To tell you the truth, this is the best *** I have,” the landlord responded.nnThe panhandler then reached and pulled out a dainty purple clay teapot featuring soft and inviting luster. “Try again with this one,” he said with a smile. This time the tea tasted so good that no one could say no to it. Realizing the true value of this ***, the landlord made a prompt decision: He offered to purchase the teapot from the panhandler on the spot.nnThe beggar hastened to empty his ***, put it away, and intended to leave. The rich man stopped him right away, and exclaimed, “I’d like to pay half of my family possessions for your ***!” With no response, the beggar just wanted to move away. The rich man was so eager that he raised his voice again, “Ok, I’d like to give you all of my family possessions for your ***!” This time, the beggar laughed, and replied, “I wouldn’t have been so poor to this extent today if I was willing to part with this ***.”nnA purple clay teapot more valuable than life?nn[I:14:J] Once upon a time, there was a local official who was absolutely nuts about purple clay teapots. In his eyes, the most precious one in his collection was a teapot crafted by the most famous master potter of that time.nnBut one day a poor servant girl broke the teapot by accident when serving tea. The magistrate got so angry that he registered a claim for the girl’s life.nnWhen the potter heard this news, he picked up a dozen of his purple clay teapots and hurried to the magistrate’s residence. The master potter made a suggestion to the magistrate, “Pick one of my best teapots and let the servant girl go.”nnThis suggestion made the administrator quite pleased. He picked one of the ten pots, and ordered his guards to unshackle the maidservant.nnLater on, the administrator brought forward another question, “Sir, would you like to sell me the other teapots?” The potter rose to his feet silently, and smashed every one of them.nnThe magistrate was stupefied, and felt deeply regretful. He asked why the master potter would rather break the pots than sell them to him. The potter answered, “I broke them and they don’t have to be reimbursed by anybody’s life. But if they are broken in your home, who knows how many people will have to die!

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