ARTIST / MAKER: Yabu Meizan (maker)
DATE: ca. 1880 (made)
PLACE: Japan (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Earthenware, painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

During the Meiji period (1868-1912), when this teapot was created, Japan was taking advantage of the new trading links with the West that were established after the end of almost two hundred years of seclusion. As a result, 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 wares, that are characterised by intricate painted decoration, were exported on a large scale to the Europe and America. This teapot is by Meizan, one of the foremost painters of Satsuma wares during the Meiji period. It is decorated with panels featuring birds, figures climbing a tree, bijin (beautiful women) attending a seated male, and other scenes.