DATE: ca.1765 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

This teapot was made during a prosperous and innovative time for Chinese ceramic production, driven in part by the prolific export of ceramics to the West. The teapot’s painted decoration is known as the ‘tobacco leaf’or ‘pseudo tobacco leaf’ pattern. Although named after the flowering Nicotiana plant, it is thought that the frilly leaves and large blossoms imitate motifs found on Indian textiles and damask fabrics of this period, which feature similar lobed tropical leaves and stylised hibiscus flowers. By the second half of the 18th century, large quantities of Chinese porcelain were painted with variations of this pattern and were especially favoured by the Portuguese and Brazilian export markets. This particular teapot features two tree shrews hidden amongst colourful, fruiting peach branches.