DATE: 1760 (made)
PLACE: Peru (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver, ebonised and carved wood handle

This silver teapot was probably made in Peru, a country which, due to its bountiful silver mines, was among the most important sources of wealth in Spain’s New World colonies from the mid-16th century and throughout the colonial period. The shape of this teapot derives from the ‘bullet’ form which was fashionable in Europe during the 1730s, but the decoration integrates Spanish Colonial taste with traditional Peruvian symbolism. The winged deity feet, for example, became widely reproduced on colonial decorative objects during this period. Tea drinking was not as widespread in Peru as it was in Europe, as local plantations of other infused beverages made them more popular such as chocolate, which was the fashionable drink of mainland Spanish aristocracy, and ‘Paraguay tea’, nicknamed ‘the tea of South America’ and known today as yerba mate, which derives from the dried leaves of the South American holly.