DATE: 1736-1795 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

This teapot is decorated with a ‘tobacco leaf’ design, which was a fashionable pattern on Chinese export porcelain in 18th century Europe. The pattern, in fact, has little to do with the tobacco leaf: it is thought that the design was inspired by motifs used on Indian textiles and 17th and 18th century damask fabrics, which feature similar lobed tropical leaves and hibiscus style flowers. By the second half of the 18th century, several versions of this pattern emerged which included additional elements such as pheasants, phoenix and treeshrews, which became known as ‘pseudo-tobacco leaf’. This teapot is painted with overglaze enamels in Famille Rose hues with gilt details. It was made during a prosperous and innovative time for ceramic production in China, driven in part by the prolific export of ceramics to the West.