Factory started by two celebrity ceramic masters
Famous ceramic masters Cao Minglun (曹明鑾) and Yao Huanxun (姚煥勛) were among the many artists who fled the Chinese Civil War to Hong Kong. Originally from Jingdezhen, Jiangxi, they settled in remote Lei Yue Mun and set up Wanji ceramics factory (萬機化學工藝品廠) in 1955. Before he opened his own factory, Master Cao was appointed as the exclusive ceramics carving master for the famous Haw Par Mansion in Tai Hang Road. This iconic, ornamental building was the entrance to the now-demolished 3-hectare Tiger Balm Garden. This garden was Hong Kong’s main theme park, and one of its first, as well as a symbol of the city’s cultural identity.
Made in Lei Yue Mun
The ceramics factory had different types of kilns — ovens for firing pottery — from Chai kilns to Japanese kilns. As Lei Yue Mun soil proved to be too fluid, clay had to be imported. The factory churned out quality export products such as Tang tri-colour glazed ceramics (唐三彩) Song Junyao (宋鈞窯) and Ming Porcelain (明青花).
Working in a toy factory?
"I am going to work in the toy factory!" wasn't an uncommon thing to hear people say in Lei Yue Mun back in the days. This 'toy factory' was a place for local kids to earn some pocket money moulding clay — a task that used to be done by cows (yes, really!). The factory closed its doors in 1983 and the two masters have long retired, but the ceramics legacy lives on in the old village school. Its classrooms and patio have been given a new lease of life as 'Lei Yue Mun Plus', a space dedicated to promoting ceramics, art and culture. Come here to brush up your pottery skills during holidays or to enjoy a cuppa at the lovely café that opens on weekends.