Chinese porcelain teapots produced for export, such as this example, were often adapted when they reached Europe with the addition of painted decoration or gilt mounts. Such mounts offered some protection to the delicate porcelain, while also masking any damage that had already occurred during sea voyage from China to Europe. These additions also transformed high quality porcelain pieces into luxurious and decorative objects that further appealed to Western taste.
Moulded teapots of this design were mostly produced in pure white porcelain in the Chinese kilns of Dehua at the turn of the 18th century. Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (1674-1723) owned a travelling tea set which includes a teapot of this design, now in the Louvres (OA 12237 2). This teapot’s unusual cream body and crackled glaze would suggest that it was made by a regional kiln experimenting with manufacturing methods to rival Dehua porcelain production and cater to European demand.