The secret of Chinese porcelain production was finally understood in Germany in 1708 and led to the growth of the European porcelain industry. The discovery of hard-paste porcelain is credited to the mathematician, physicist and physician Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. Following his death, the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger began producing porcelain at the Meissen porcelain manufactory, where this teapot was created. The body is decorated with gilt Chinese figures underneath parasols and the spout takes the shape of a dragon. As tea was an exotic drink from China, European manufacturers of the 18th century considered chinoiserie decoration to be especially appropriate for teawares. The painters Bartolomaus and Abraham Seuter specialised in painting such figurative scenes that were commonly drawn from contemporary engravings. Based in Augsburg, the Seuter brothers were hausmaler, ‘home painters’ who decorated Meissen porcelain in their own workshops using in polychrome enamels, silver and gold.