DATE: late 18th century (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted with enamels and gilded

As tea drinking became fashionable in Europe from the latter half of the 17th century, vast amounts of porcelain teawares were exported to the West from China and Japan. Domestic scenes were a popular decorative theme for the European market in the mid-18th century as they were considered to be an insight into domestic life in China. They often depicted elegantly dressed ladies with a number of young children in interior settings surrounded by furniture such as the Chinese lamp and bamboo table in this scene, as well as numerous vases. The new enamel palette with a greater variety of colours enabled painters to achieve much paler tones which, along with fine details and gilt, created greater texture and depth to the figurines. In many examples of this style, the young boys depicted are playing with their pets, in this case two Dalmatians, the keeping of pets a pastime influenced by Western practices. Such interior scenes often combined objects denoting good fortune and longevity, the toy being used with the dogs on this teapot, a stylistic symbol of longevity.