DATE: 1723-1735 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels

This teapot is modelled and painted to resemble a lotus blossom, a species of the water-lily family. In Chinese culture, the lotus is thought to represent feminine beauty and, as the flower rises from the muddy waters in which it grows, it is also considered to be a symbol of purity and truth. Lotus blossoms are often depicted as Buddha’s throne and it is the only plant included in the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism. The teapot’s handle and the lid finial are modelled to resemble the blossom’s stem, which typically features small, pointed dots along its length. The body is painted with petals in a closed position, which signifies that the object has auspicious potential. Such elaborately decorated Chinese porcelain was not intended for domestic use but rather for export to the West, where this type of decoration was deemed exotic and therefore highly fashionable.