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Nixi Black Pottery— Pottery with a thousand-year history

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Nixi Black Pottery— Pottery with a thousand-year history

尼西黑陶 传承千年


By Liu Jiatong   Edited by Yu Xuebin   Photographed by Black Pottery Development Co., Ltd. in Nixi, Shangri-La




Nixi means “where the sun rises” in Tibetan language. Tangdui Village, a Tibetan village in Nixi Township of Shangri-La City, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, was once a mandatory stop on the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Nixi is also a place that has preserved the traditional skills, passed down over thousands of years, of “Nixi Black pottery”, a style of pottery recognized as an intangible national cultural heritage.

Time changes, but the craftsmanship of Nixi Black pottery is very little changed over the craft’s thousands of years history. The pottery makers never use modern machinery. The implements required are simple: a set of wooden tools—generally made by potters for their own use—a wooden case, and several wooden pedestals are all this pottery style requires. The black pottery products are formed from several pieces of clay. Round vessels are made by hand, their forms dependent on the craftsman’s eyes and experience, rather than the electric wheel. In recent years, increasing number of tourists have visited Diqing Prefecture, promoting an unprecedented revival of traditional pottery-making, and turning this ancient craft into an industry in Tangdui Village, to the point where black pottery shops now stand side-by-side in some streets in Dukezong Ancient Town (Shangri-La) and Tangdui Village.





Black pottery fire pan



This pan, with its exquisite shape and traditional Tibetan styling, is suitable for boiling water, brewing tea or warming wine, and makes an excellent centerpiece for an evening’s conversation.

Market Price: 600 yuan


Tea caddy



Black pottery is not completely air-tight, but breathable to the extent ideal for the long-term storage of tea leaves, keeping them perfectly fresh.

Market Price: 420 yuan


Girl carrying water



A decorative black pottery artifact with practical use, this piece can be used as an ornament by itself, or used as holder of pens or tableware.

Market Price: 140 yuan to 180 yuan


Rooster-shaped tea pot



Black pottery tea ware conducts heat relatively slowly, which makes this tea pot safer to handle, and keeps the tea it contains hot for longer. Used to brew semi-fermented tea, it brings out the fragrance of the tea, also the color is so beautiful and touched warmly and softly that you don’t want to put it down.

Market Price: 140 yuan


Tibetan incense burner



Tibetan incense burners are traditional black pottery products. Carved with Tibetan symbols on their sides, these incense burners make solemn and elegant ornaments for any study.

Market Price: 240 yuan


Black pottery pot



These black pottery pots are very suitable for storing food, due to the simultaneously breathability and waterproofing qualities of the material. Food cooked with black pottery pots stays fresher, and particularly in winter, stays hot longer when removed from the stove.

Market Price: 400 yuan

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