ARTIST / MAKER: Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: 1729-1731 (made)
PLACE: Germany (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in enamels and gilt

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 manufactory at Meissen was sponsored by the Elector of Saxony, Augustus the Strong (reigned 1694-1733), who had a great passion for porcelain. By 1719 he had amassed more than 20,000 pieces of Chinese and Japanese porcelain and housed them in a small palace in Dresden acquired specifically to display his collection. This palace became known as the ‘Japanese Palace’, and Augustus continued to add to his collection with pieces from the Meissen manufactory. This teapot was at one time part of this collection and still retains its original inventory number. Its simple decoration of quail and flowering prunus branches was inspired by Japanese Kakiemon pieces that were fashionable at this time, and were typically decorated with a yellow, red, blue and turquoise palette set against a milky-white ground.