Fully handmade vs Half-handmade Yixing Zisha Teapot

The difference of Fully handmade Yixing Teapot and Half-handmade Yixing Teapot lies in whether use the help of molds during making process.

Nowadays, many tea lovers like to use Yixing Zisha Teapot in home or office to brew tea. When choosing a Yixing Zisha Teapot, Ying Teapot fans may often concern: Is it made of authentic Yixing clay? Is the Teapot fully handmade? Some people sniff at the half-handmade teapot, while flocking to fully handmade teapot. This time let’s talk about half-handmade and fully handmade that many Yixing teapot lovers concern.

The success of a Yixing zisha artware relies on dozens of complex forming processes. During these processes, the proficient skill of the maker and the wide range of tools are both indispensable.

In the world of Yixing Zisha Teapot, there’re two kinds of handmade crafts: half handmade and full/fully handmade. The main difference between half handmade and fully handmade is the use of molds in the manufacturing process.

Fully handmade Yixing Teapot

Fully handmade Yixing Teapot means no mold is used during the whole process, but need to use some tools like wooden spatula (Mu Dazi) to flap the clay to make the teapot body, use fat clay board to twisting fat clay for connecting the Hu Liu (the joint of spout and teapot body)…

It will be more difficult and takes a lot of time and effort to make a fully handmade teapot.

Some Tools that will be used in making Yixing Teapots

Some Tools that will be used in making Yixing Teapots

Half-handmade Yixing Teapot

Half-handmade / Semi-handmade Yixing Teapot, like the teapot body, spout, handle or lid is made with the help of molds. Other parts are still made by full-handed.

There’re three types of half-handmade craft:
1. Spout, handle, lid are full-handmade, while teapot body is made with the help of molds.
2. Teapot body is full-handmade, while other parts are made with the help of molds.
3. All the parts are made with the help of molds.

Many teapot lovers worry that the half-handmade teapot using the molds will have unlimited copies in the marking. In fact, there is no need to worry about this. The semi-handmade teapot is also endowed with the author’s own thoughts, and it is non-replicable. For example, Gu Jingzhou, Master of Chinese Industrial Art, was also using molds while making Yixing Zisha Teapot. He used well and skillfully of the molds, results in his outstanding works. The Yang Tong Hu which was made by Gu Jingzhou by using molds is unsurpassable. Nowadays, many craftsmen and even senior craftsmen use the molds of Gu Jingzhou, but can’t achieve the outstanding effect of Gu.


Therefore, full-handmade or half-handmade is not the key element to determine the quality of a teapot. It is important to look into the clay material, craft, style, charm. Only when you improve your appreciation that you can find your favorite teapot. When a half-handmade Yixing teapot is integrated with the unique thought of the maker, beautiful and harmonious, with good implication, then it will be a teapot with high collection value. Even the molds used to make the teapot will be with high collection value.

The Making Process of the Yixing Teapot Body by full-handmade vs half-handmade

Now I will explain the difference of making process of the Yixing Teapot Body by full-handmade vs half-handmade by illustration. The difference is whether making the teapot body with the help of molds. Let’s have a look of how the crafter making the teapot body.

Making Process of Full-handmade Yixing Teapot Body

1. Making the clay into long piece, using tools to carve the length width and arc, then cut into the desired shape.

Scrape the clay (Gua Ni Pian)
Scrape the clay (Gua Ni Pian)

Cut the clay (Cai Ni Pian)
Cut the clay (Cai Ni Pian)

2. Rounding the clay into cylindrical shape and use the wooden spatulas to pat it into the needed shape. This is a very important step, as the full-handmade Yixing Teapot Body needs a long time slow pat and the process is not simply. It has to be repeated for several steps, constantly adjusting while patting. To reach the final desired shape.

Repeated Flapping Teapot Body
Teapot Body Formed

After repeated flapping, the body is formed

Full Handmade Teapot Body

Making Process of half-handmade Yixing Teapot Body

1. The first step of making the clay into long piece, using tools to carve the length width and arc, then cut into the desired shape is the same as that of making process of full-handmade Teapot.

2. Rounding the clay into drum shape. Making half-handmade Yixing Teapot needs to use molds, so in this step crafter only need to make a rough shape. Then put the teapot body into the molds and fix the molds.

Use Mold to Fix Teapot Shape

3. Tang Shen Tong. Different from full-handmade teapot body which is flapped from the outside, half-handmade teapot body is flapped from the inside. Crafter will use finger or tool to push the teapot body outward to make the clay fully fitting on the inner wall of the molds. Until the final shape formed.

 Tang Shen Tong

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like to read the following articles:

How to Choose a Proper Yixing Teapot for a Single Type of Tea

Care for and Maintain Your Yixing Zisha Teapots

How To Properly Use a Gongfu Ceremonial Tea Set

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