Bao Tai Thin Porcelain Cup


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These thin-walled Bao Tai porcelain cups are a traditional product of the Jing De Zhen kilns in Jiangxi province. Jing De Zhen has more than 2000 years of history making ceramics, although the special techniques to create Bao Tai or “thin form” type pieces weren’t developed until the 10th century.

These thin-walled cups are completely hand made through a process of over four steps. The cups begin with their clay being pulled to just 2mm – 3mm thin.  The artesian works the clay of the cup’s wall until it is smoothed to just 1 mm. The designs are etched in this surface, leaving just 0.5 mm walls in the thinnest part of the etchings.  The potters aspire to make the cups as thin a the shell of a chicken egg and glaze the surface with a mirror-bright finish.

The glaze used on these cups is formulated to be at once clear and reflective. The interior walls are glazed using a thicker drip-glaze technique, while the exterior glaze is sprayed for a very thin and even layer. Then the cups are fired at high-temperature. This creates the mirror finish.

In the final piece, the delicate etchings and soft glaze reveal their beauty when light is placed over the cup, or when tea is poured inside. The cup’s thin walls allow tea to cool quickly and be enjoyed.