DATE: Unknown
PLACE: Japan (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels, gilt metal mounts

This Japanese teapot is decorated in the Kakiemon style, which takes its name from the 17th century potter Sakaida Kakiemon, who was reputed to have perfected the technique of painting overglaze enamels onto porcelain. Kakiemon wares typically feature asymmetrical, painted decoration in enamels of cerulean blue, soft-coral red, green, yellow and black on a white porcelain ground. The most sought after Japanese export ceramics, Kakiemon decoration was imitated on less expensive European porcelain, particularly in the Netherlands. Other 18th century European factories such as Chelsea (England) and Chantilly (France) experimented with tin glazes to imitate the milk-white appearance of true Kakiemon porcelain at a lesser cost. This Japanese teapot is embellished with Kakiemon-style decoration of a bird on a cherry branch, surrounded by a ruyi border, a Buddhist ceremonial sceptre which symbolises power and good fortune in Chinese folklore. The gilt metal mounts were most likely added in Europe to emphasis the rarity, quality and exoticism of this piece.