The Heritage of Leaf Teacups: The Story of Craftsman Duan Minrui

The Heritage of Leaf Teacups: The Story of Craftsman Duan Minrui


  1. The Fascination of Leaf Teacups
  2. Embracing the Art of Ceramic
  3. The Beauty of Leaf Teacups
  4. Challenges and Vision Ahead
  5. Conclusion

China's Jizhou Kiln, located in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, is a brilliant gem in the realm of Chinese ceramic art. Since the Tang Dynasty, Jizhou Kiln has embarked on a splendid journey of porcelain production. Throughout various dynasties, especially during the Song Dynasty, the craftsmanship of Jizhou Kiln reached its pinnacle. Among its representative works, the Leaf Teacup stands out, capturing the hearts of countless admirers with its unique design and delicate artistry.

The Fascination of Leaf Teacups

Even after encountering countless teacups, it was the sight of a wooden leaf floating in a teacup glazed in black that deeply moved me.

Fresh leaves must undergo special processing before being used. According to historical accounts, the process of crafting Leaf Teacups starts with soaking leaves and carefully removing the fleshy parts without damaging the vein structure, keeping the veins whole. The artisan then lightly coats the leaf veins with a thin layer of glaze. Next, the intact glazed leaf is carefully adhered against the already glazed inner wall of the teacup. Finally, firing the assembled teacup gives the finished Leaf Teacup its distinctive form.

The Fascination of Leaf Teacups

We have the privilege today of welcoming master teacup artisan Duan Minrui. He will generously share with us his personal story and experience in practicing this singular craft. Join us as we gain insight into Duan's world of Leaf Teacup making.

Embracing the Art of Ceramic

"In my youth, I worked in finance, but deep inside, I held a passion for antiques and collectibles. By chance, I encountered the art of Jizhou Kiln's ceramics, and those exquisite pieces deeply captivated me. One day, I stumbled upon a Leaf Teacup, and its unique form and delicate craftsmanship left a profound impression. From that moment, I made a resolute decision to leave the finance industry and immerse myself in the world of ceramic art." 

"I came to Jizhou Kiln in Nanchang with the goal of apprenticing and learning the art of restoring Jizhou Kiln ceramics and firing Leaf Teacups. Under the guidance of skilled masters, I delved into historical records and archaeological materials from different eras, studying the craftsmanship of Jizhou Kiln's ceramics. During the process of making Leaf Teacups, my team and I have adhered to historical traditions while continuously exploring the finest techniques. Starting from material selection, we meticulously choose high-quality raw materials to ensure the quality of our work. During the pinching, shaping, and carving of decorative patterns, we strive for perfection in every detail. Applying glaze and the firing process test our experience and patience."

The Beauty of Leaf Teacups

"Through continuous experimentation and improvement, we finally succeeded in firing batches of exquisite Leaf Teacups. They resemble leaves forever preserved in porcelain, vivid and awe-inspiring. When brewing tea in these teacups, mysterious magic seems to emanate. The solemn darkness of the tea infuses the cup, and the withered leaves take on a splendid appearance within the porcelain. Bitterness intertwines with sweetness, allowing people to detach from the noise of the world and find solace from desires during tea tasting."

The Beauty of Leaf Teacups

Challenges and Vision Ahead

"However, the inheritance of Leaf Teacups is not without challenges. The hurried tempo of today's world and the dominance of mass manufacturing have caused many old-world crafts to dwindle. Most people are merely familiar with the name Leaf Teacups without truly appreciating their singular beauty. Additionally, the widespread availability of low-cost, inferior copies has made it hard for real Leaf Teacup to get the recognition they deserve."

"Nevertheless, my passion and commitment to Leaf Teacups remain undiminished. If anything, these difficulties have sparked an even stronger vision in me. I aspire to share the splendor of Leaf Teacups with more people so that more individuals can cherish this singular art form. To make this vision a reality, I plan to showcase the artistry and cultural worth of Leaf Teacups globally through exhibits, interactions, and partnerships. At the same time, I will strive to groom young apprentices to inherit the time-honored tradition of Leaf Teacup creation."


In summary, we wholeheartedly believe that by upholding tradition, boldly innovating, and imparting our genuine fervor to more individuals, Leaf Teacups will surely earn widespread acclaim and appreciation across the globe. Let these leaves, forever frozen in porcelain, radiate a dazzling brilliance in the long river of history.

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