This tea canister was made by the Meissen porcelain factory in Germany, whose chief alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682-1719) began to produce brown stoneware from around 1710 in imitation of the ceramics made in the Chinese town of Yixing. Yixing wares were first exported to Europe in the second half of the 17th century where they became very fashionable. Queen Mary II is even recorded to have had a mantelpiece covered with ‘fine Red China ware’ (Baarsen et.al. 1988). The stoneware Böttger created could be left unglazed, polished or painted in imitation of Asian lacquer. The shape of this canister is based on Chinese export examples and is decorated with fine press-moulded ornament, featuring birds perched on foliate branches.