Yixing Clay: Crafting an Amazing Bonsai Pot

Posted by Bonsai Outlet Staff on 9th Jan 2024

For a lot of people, when they think "bonsai pots" they think "Yixing." It's one of the most popular kinds of Bonsai pot, and has been for most of the history of Bonsai as an art form. In fact, nearly all the bonsai pots stocked by Bonsai Outlet are Yixing. There's just no comparison.

Like most things related to Bonsai, Yixing pots have a long history that begins in ancient China...

The City of Clay

Yixing city was officially founded during the Qin Dynasty, in roughly 221BCE, but the area had been settled for far longer than that. Even into Chinese pre-history, thousands of years earlier, the area now called Yixing had been a center of earthenware creation.

Situated on the bank of Lake Tai, not far from the Yangtze river delta, quirks of geology over the years had resulted in a truly unique form of clay, also now called Yixing. It was purple. Made of a mixture of mica, quartz, kaolinite, and a much larger-than-normal amount of iron oxide, Yixing Clay was truly distinctive to look at. It comes in several types, ranging from rust-red to indigo, and all of them were nearly unique among clays.

At this time, dyes were extremely rare. Most coloration had to come naturally. And purple dye, especially, was basically unheard of. Once Yixing City began commercial production of Yixing clay pottery, over a thousand years ago, they quickly became known as China's center for pottery.

And they still are today!

Yixing Pottery

Yixing pots can be either glazed or unglazed, with striking effects either way. The glazing and firing process can bring out the clay's natural colors to create intricate patterns, while unglazed pots can have artwork carved directly into them.

It's a truly beautiful presentation for a Bonsai, either way.

Yixing pots also have special properties that make them popular for tea-drinking. When unglazed, the clay will absorb a bit of anything put into it, creating teapots and cups which make the tea more tasty every time they're used. The finest crafted Yixing teapots can fetch prices in the thousands of dollars!

That absorptive property also allows unglazed Yixing Bonsai pots to hold moisture a bit better than other pots. They have good ventilation and are perfect for keeping a Bonsai tree's roots safe and healthy.

The Best In Bonsai Pots: Legitimate and Hand-Made

Every Yixing Pot carried by Bonsai Outlet comes directly from China, and was hand-made by pottery masters from a long line of pottery masters. If you look on the bottom, they'll have the creator's stamp, guaranteeing that it's a legitimate Yixing.

Yixing pots come in all shapes and sizes, and are perfect for both outdoor and indoor Bonsai. They're simple, refined, and elegant. There's a Yixing pot for every Bonsai, and every setting it might be in.

So when it comes time to repot your Bonsai as it continues its growth, we suggest you try giving it a pot that Bonsai have been thriving in for centuries.