DATE: ca.1780 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain with enamels

Chinese polychrome porcelain decoration was particularly refined during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662–1722) when production and innovation in the porcelain kilns of Jingdezhen was at its height. The style most identifiable with the Kangxi era is known as Wucai or ‘five colours’, a particular palette of overglaze enamel colours dominated by hues of green, which can be seen on this teapot. This style is better known in the West as Famille Verte, a term introduced by the French art historian Albert Jacquemart in his seminal book L’Histoire de la Céramique (1873). Famille Verte porcelain enjoyed a widespread appeal and was produced in vast quantities for domestic use but also for export to the West, where it was extremely sought after.

The body of the teapot is modelled as petals of a lotus flower, an important flower in Chinese culture. The lotus is the only plant included in the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism, portraying purity of body and mind, which is denoted by the flowers rise above the muddy waters in which it grows.