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Make Clay While The Sun Shines


Either Neil Robertson, Barry Hawkins, Joe Perry, Stephen Maguire or Martin Gould will be lifting the 2014 Sports Lottery Cup Wuxi Classic trophy on Sunday.

But the winner and runner-up at the ranking event in China may not realise how much skill and ingenuity has gone into the creation of these unique and valuable trophies.

They are made from Yixing clay, sourced close to the city in the Jiangsu Province, and they are renowned throughout China. Ding Junhui’s father is a well known enthusiast of Yixing clay teapots.

The clay used, known locally as ‘purple sand’, is very cohesive and its use dates back to the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) when Yixing clay was first mined around Lake Taihu.

The Wuxi trophies were made by the renowned designer Mr Ruan Li. “It was a difficult task to create the trophies for the Wuxi Classic because I had to bring something new to the traditional Yixing clay designs and reflect the cultural tradition of the Chinese Year of Horse,” he said. “The local governing body of sport is so keen on snooker and it’s a great honour for me. That’s why I felt a lot of responsibility.

“Yixing clay has a great international reputation, and the designs had to be acceptable to the players. The design I chose was the Baishou bottle. I added an element of motion to the existing bottle-shaped style, which matches the sporting context. Then I carved horses on the trophies to reflect the Year of the Horse.”