Each of the nesting cups has a flared mouth, a U-shaped body, and a flat bottom, with the mouth rim covered with gold. The cups look like horse hooves when they are inverted, and thus called horse hoof cups. Ten cups of different sizes are nested to constitute a set. The scenes from The Romance of the Western Chamber are painted with powder enamel on the outer wall of the bigger nine cups, and on the inner wall of the smallest one. The inside bottom of the nine bigger cups is white glazed with no pattern. Classic scenes from The Romance of the Western Chamber are selected to be demonstrated on the cups; the ten paintings are of similar composition with figures and houses, but of different content to express different stories. When the cups are taken out from small to large, the scenes will be revealed and the story is to be told, like a comic book with an original idea.
The nesting cups can come in set or individually; the size, contour, shape, and thickness of wall of each cup are significantly important, and great attention should be paid during the making process. In Qing Dynasty, nesting cups were very popular; normally a set of nesting cups included at least 3 to 5, and at most 20 cups. In literature works like A Dream in Red Mansions there are depictions of this kind of interesting porcelain wares. The nesting cups we have today can also prove their popularity back at that time. There is a set of powder enamel nesting cups made during Yongzheng Period with the design of The Romance of the Western Chamber in Jiaxing Museum, Zhejiang Province, and this set also has ten cups. The set herein was made later, during Daoguang Period, but with more exquisite paintings. There have been multiple versions of powder enamel nesting cups with this genre of stories’ scenes painted passed down, proving that it used to be very popular to decorate the cups in this way.