There were two types of kilns historically used in Yixing: Snake Kilns and “Modern Tunnel” Kilns. Later, gas and electric kilns came to be used instead.
Snake kilns were used throughout China for thousands of years, and the only type of kiln in use up to 1957. Snake kilns are simple, single-column climbing kilns made of clay and brick with a frontal firing chamber, air and fuel ports along the side, and a tall chimney at the far end. The kiln is set on a slope with the chimney at the highest point, which causes a consistent oxygen flow due to the heat rising up the slope and out of the chimney. These kilns could be up to 60 meters long and burn for over a week (though they would have been shorter and faster for yixing firings).
Namaste friends, romans, 茶人, & countrymen! It has been far too long, with far too little tea and tea related adventures since I last posted.
But the wait is over.
After this most successful event, the 2015 Yixing Teapot Exhibition, hosted by the Tea Institute at Penn State, I feel alive to the allure of tea once again.
Ryan Ahn (狮子) has done an unbelievable job of taking over the institute I founded and I am so happy to remain involved in an advisory role. Ryan and his executive team are 100x better at recruiting than I (and my executive team, sorry guys) ever was/were.
Under Ryan and the new executive board, the Institute has grown to 44 active members! (all of whom are directly descendent from my tea linage, making me far more proud than the parents of an honor roll student)