About Our Clay

At Yann Zisha Gallery, we pride ourselves for having some of the best clays currently available in the zisha market. Our pieces are all made of 100% authentic zisha, with some of our high-end pieces’ special clays sourced from one of two private sources:

 

1.  富贵金砂 Fu Gui Jin Sha

佘荣飞 She Rong Fei’s and 高松云 Gao Song Yun’s zisha supply.

Both She Rong Fei and Gao Song Yun’s undisputed reputation allows them privileged access and possession of top quality clay not sold publicly nor available for public use. Their clays are reserved for themselves, exclusively sold within their circle or to masters that have earned their hard-earned trust and respect. The price of their precious clays collected 20-30 years ago starts at $560 (USD) per 15 kilos upwards to $10k per 15 kilos. The value of the pieces made with their clay will vary depending on the artist’s skill/craftsmanship and reputation. 

About She Rong Fei 佘荣飞 

Owner of 富贵金沙艺术品有限公司 Fu Fui Jin Sha Art Company. A zisha lover/crafter and long-time collector of rare, high-end pieces, She Rong Fei owns several masterpieces by Gu Jing Zhou, as well as historically significant pieces of the Qing and Ming dynasty. He has devoted his life to zisha and the zisha industry, and has been dealing with grandmaster pieces while owning some of his own at his zisha studio and company for over 30 years. His knowledge and his network is priceless, having exclusive access to some of the country’s most famous names from various industries - from master zisha artists to famous painters to chief designers to the best clay makers. Due to his expansive connection and knowledge of the art world, 佘荣飞 She Rong Fei has become an authority in art/antique authentication and is a gatekeeper to some of the industry’s best talents and most precious masterpieces. In his circle, his social status in the zisha world is unquestionable.

About Gao Song Yun 高松云 

An almighty Senior master of arts and crafts of China, Gao Song Yun’s talent lies in his dynamic ability to create pieces of varying styles and sizes with flawless execution! A man with an invaluable connection and impeccable reputation in the industry, Gao Song Yun is also a famous teacher and mentor to some of the biggest names/masters currently in the industry.

 

Authentic Ben Shan Duanni From Huang Long Shan No.4 Mine

Authentic Di Cao Qing From Huang Long Shan No.4 Mine

 

 

 

 

2, 朱金林 Zhu Jin Lin: King of Zisha Clay and Creator of the Legendary “Jin Lin Chuan Sha” 金林传砂

Jin Lin Chuan Sha (金林传砂), a famous name synonymous with the best quality zisha in Yixing, was founded by the legendary Zhu Jin Lin (朱金林). Known as the “King of Zisha Clay,” Zhu Jin Lin possessed the unique ability to mix clay (‘tiao sha’ 调沙工艺) skilfully, and at one point fascinated the world for his uncanny skill to bring forth the very best qualities in zisha. Due to his special know-how, clays prepared by Zhu Jin Lin were exclusively referred to as 'Jin Lin Chuan Sha’ and are highly sought-after by collectors and artists alike. 

Since the 1970s, Zhu Jin Lin collected many precious types of zisha, this to include the purest and now-extinct precious clay of the early 70s and 80s. Zhu Jin Lin’s extensive collection, in fact, is the very foundation of the now-famous ‘Jin Lin Chuan Sha' clay. Zhu Jin Lin’s exceptional clay-mixing skills yielded clays with extraordinary texture, subdued brilliance, and remarkable purity. Pieces made of this clay are refined, simple, and elegant; several brews will result in an excellent gloss and a jade-like shine (see our ‘Jin Lin’ pieces). Due to its enchanting appearance, Jin Lin Chuan Sha clay is also known as ‘Rainbow zisha,’ and holds a high prestige in the zisha industry.

 

 Qi Cai/Rainbow Jiang Po Ni by Jin Lin Chuan Sha 金林传砂


 

Zhu Jin Lin 朱金林

Ignited by his love for zisha and fuelled by his knowledge of zisha teapots, Zhu Jin Lin entered the purple clay business during his early years endowed with a deep understanding of a clay’s intrinsic beauty and value. Zhu Jin Lin bought clays he found innately beautiful but were cheaply sold by merchants. In fact, on one notable occasion, Jin Lin once encountered a man who had intended to fire a glazed tile with zisha. Jin Lin was very much saddened by this clay’s unfortunate fate that as soon as he arrived home, he spoke to his wife about buying the clay. “We don’t have any more money! We have been eating radishes for a month,” his wife said. “You still have jewelry,” Mr. Jin replied. Mr. Jin’s wife cried and believed her husband had gone mad, to which, Mr. Jin replied, “It doesn’t matter if I’ve gone mad or not, I cannot watch zisha turned to glazed tiles to fill the road…”

Zi Qie Ni by Jin Lin Chuan Sha 金林传砂

Eventually, Zhu Jin Lin’s house ran out of room to store zisha, at which point he rented a house simply to store the rest of his collection. When he ran out of the room once more, he built huts and dug cellars to store his precious zisha. When asked why he collected and stored unwanted “worthless” zisha, Zhu Jin Li himself did not know how to respond, though deep inside he firmly believed that the clay was ancient, as precious as jade, and a worthy material for creating artwork that can be passed from generation to generation. This was a gamble that Zhu Jin Lin was willing to take, as he was not afraid at the risk of staying perpetually poor. Though his family’s savings of nearly one million yuan were all spent on zisha clay, they were able to sustain themselves by growing their own food and vegetables, ultimately affording them the option to save whatever money and luck they encountered along the way. 

Xue Hua Duanni by Jin Lin Chuan Sha 金林传砂

During the 21st century, zisha clay slowly began to increase its worth, eventually turning from mud to jade. On one faithful day, the government finally announced that the purple clay mines were to be closed indefinitely and no longer available to the public. Suddenly, the value of zisha skyrocketed, and the people realized Zhu Jin Lin's—the fool who vastly collected what was once a ‘worthless’ mud—great fortune! On that same day, the shabby door of Jin Lin’s house soon ushered a mass of buyers who eagerly wanted to purchase a piece of his zisha! “They are not for sale,” Zhu Jin Lin announced, closing the door to a confused and disgruntled mob. It was only Mr. Jin’s wife, who truly understood her husband’s intentions. 

Thereafter, Zhu Jin Lin tested his clay, grounded it, weathered it, aged it, and mixed it with other types of clay to bring out the rainbow of colors Jin Lin Chuan Sha clay is now famously known for. For the artist who wished to use this clay then, he/she must trade pot for clay; if Zhu Jin Lin believed the artist’s craft would not disgrace his clay, he would give generously. If money was an obstacle for the artist, he/she simply needed to make 10 pieces and give two to Mr. Jin as compensation! Naturally, Zhu Jin Lin registered Jin Lin Chuan Sha and owned his own private studio comprised of several talented craftsmen. Though some of the craftsmen did not hold national titles, it was in their skills—which were on par, and if not better, to some of the so-called national masters—that proved their well-deserved belonging.

It is a pity though, that Zhu Jin Lin died young. Despite the clay’s secret recipe being circulated within the family, no one could perfectly replicate Jin Lin’s clay…

Jin Lin Chuan Sha 

The true beauty of zisha lies in its dignified simplicity and grace; its foundation is fortified by a fusion of unique arenaceous elements; its color as if formed by a delicate flock of seven fairies, each with their own tones and hues; its composition harmonised by layers upon layers of nature’s deep-rooted secrets. No longer raw materials once awakened from their earthy slumber. This magical medley is at the heart of Jin Lin Chuan Sha.

It is important to note that Jin Lin Chuan Sha is not just indiscriminately sold to whoever can afford it. In fact, only select masters that have been vetted and authorized are the only artists allowed to use this clay. As such, real Jin Lin zisha is elusive and hard to find. At Yann Zisha Gallery, we are very fortunate to work with select artists from Jin Lin Chuan Sha, particularly in a market where fakes and profit-driven merchants claim their pieces to be made of the clay with false authority. Words cannot describe how honored we are to have the privilege to offer pieces made with this legendary clay—a rare privilege most merchants can only dream to possess!

See some of Jin Lin Chuan Sha's pieces, here.  

Yann Zisha Gallery Clay Production 

We have our own small clay studio that specialises only in traditional processed clay. This is our homage to how clay was processed back in the old days - which means everything we produce is all done by hand. We use only the best material, without adding any chemical or additive. Therefore, our supply is very limited. 

Click here to see more hand processed clay pieces.