During the Meiji period (1868-1912), when this teapot was created, Japan was taking advantage of the new trading links that were established after emerging from almost two hundred years of seclusion. As a result of these trading links, enthusiasm for Japanese art and crafts, known commonly as Japonisme, became widespread and had a profound effect on Western art and design. At the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867 the Japanese pavilion featured 145 exhibitors, and included a large display of objects from Satsuma, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. Following the success of the exhibition, Satsuma-style wares, such as this piece, were exported on a large scale to the West. This piece depicts scenes of dignitaries on a dark blue ground, and is an example of Satsuma export wares that were made specifically for the Western consumer market.