Yuehong Chang - Zisha "Purple Sand" Teapot Master Speaks on Intangible Cultural Heritage
Beverly Hills, California, USA. 2nd June, 2019. The Beverly Arts and Intangible Cultural Heritage Association (ICHA) in cooperation with The Beverly Hills Historical Society and local organizations, kicked off an international conference on Intangible Cultural Heritage and Zisha (Purple Sand) Teapots of China at the Roxbury Conference Center in Beverly Hills. The conference focused on topics related to both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, with a special presentation by Yuehong Chang, master Zisha teapot artist, on preserving the intangible cultural heritage of the making of Zisha (Purple Sand) teapots.
Other speakers included Richard Wearn, Professor of Art at California State University, Los Angeles, and Phil Savenick, President of the Beverly Hills Historical Society who spoke on the academic and historical aspects of intangible cultural heritage.
What is Intangible Cultural Heritage? 'Intangible Cultural Heritage' is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill considered by UNESCO to be part of a place's cultural heritage. In contrast to the 'Tangible Cultural Heritage', which includes the physical objects and artifacts belonging to a culture, the intangible comprises of the non-physical and intellectual property such as folklore, rituals, customs, beliefs, traditions, knowledge, and language. It is sometimes called the "living heritage" as it is what gets passed down from one generation to the next. Today, intangible cultural heritage is becoming an important part of preserving the cultural diversity of a society in the growing world of modern globalization.
Yuehong Chang is an artist and teapot designer from China who specializes in the making of Zisha “Purple Sand” Teapots, a highly skilled craft that has been passed down through his family for generations. According to historical records, the first handmade purple sand teapot was created by a monk using local clay in Yixing, a city in East China’s Jiangsu province, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The craft later flourished in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a time when China expanded trade with other countries for tea, spices, porcelain, silk, and art.
Today, the purple sand teapots that are produced in Yixing, are considered to be the best teapots for making tea. This is due to the local clay that provides an outstanding medium for making teapots due to its excellent porosity and heat handling properties that significantly improve the flavor of the tea when compared to tea made in glass, porcelain or glazed teapots. To make a purple sand teapot, the materials are carefully selected and processed, and the teapot can only be made by hand using a special method. In 2006, the production technique of Yixing purple sand teapots was listed among China’s Intangible Cultural Heritages.
Yuehong Chang is not only a master of the craft, but an accomplished artist and expert who is actively in involved with Intangible Cultural Heritage initiatives - to preserve the traditions and skills of his craft as well as those of other cultures and nationalities. He most recently met with the curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Asian Art Department - Stephen Little, the Florence & Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art and Head of Chinese, Korean, and South and Southeast Asian Art Departments. Yuehong Chang speaks at conferences, writes for publications, judges competitions, and is actively involved in industry associations, academic organizations, and exhibitions. Yuehong Chang has his design studio located in Yixing, where he designs and produces purple sand teapots that are shipped throughout China and internationally to many locations.
• Chairman of The Hong Kong Chinese Zisha Art Association since 2017
• Deputy Director of The Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee of the “China Collection” Magazine
• Member of China Arts and Crafts Association
• Member of China Ceramics Industry Association
• Member on Editorial Board of “Jiangsu Ceramics” Magazine
• Columnist for “Jiangsu Ceramics” Magazine, regularly publishing opinions on artistic creation, research results on artistic innovation, and ideas about industry development
• Member on Editorial Board of “China Collection” Magazine
• Industry leader and active participant and promoter of the Zisha art industry
Since 2002, Mr. Chang’s awarded works include: "Chrysanthemum", "Gourd", "Grand Auspicious", "Round as Pearls and Smooth as Jade", "Happy Casual Encounter ", "Imposing Octahedral ", "Powerful Quake Everywhere", "Roosters Crow at Dawn", "Desert Scenery", etc.
• December 2017: “Intangible Cultural Heritage World Tour – China Zisha Teapot,” a personal art exhibition, Los Angeles, USA.
• January 2019: “Ingenuity – Yuehong Chang Zisha Art Innovation Exhibition,” hosted by the “China Collection,” the China Collection Hall, Beijing, China.
• March 2019: Nine of Mr. Chang’s works were featured on the big screen of Reuters in Times Square, New York, as the first intangible cultural heritage artist to be featured on that screen.
• May 2019: 10 of Mr. Chang’s works, including “Imposing Octahedral,” were exhibited with more than 10 Masters of Arts and Crafts at the "Millennium - Blue-and-White Ceramics Art Exhibition" in Beijing, China.