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July 4, 2020

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Taking a leaf out of a traditional craft book

THERE are no two identical leaf cups, just as there are no two identical leaves in the world. The making of a leaf cup, a traditional craft endemic in today’s Ji’an County, east China’s Jiangxi Province, is special — the artisan has to integrate a leaf into the porcelain ware being worked on.

Wu Yingshan, an inheritor of the leaf cup making techniques, started to study porcelain in 2003. With the development of bulk production, the traditional ways to make leaf cups are in gradual decline. Worrying about that decline, Wu decided to revive the craft.

After spending several years checking data and visiting famous ancient kilns, Wu finally remade his own leaf cups in 2006, and succeeded in the traditional craft after eight years of trying.

Wu stresses the passing down of the craft. He set up a porcelain studio named Yingshantang where he teaches skills to students who are interested in the art.

For him, “the traditional craft has to move forward with the time, and should not be forgotten in the modern world.”


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