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 teapot decoration depicts figures in exterior settings. On one side a man wearing a futou (headwear typically worn by government officials), holds up a tea bowl, while a young boy holds a teapot similar in shape to the vessel itself. Other auspicious objects that form the Hundred antiques appear throughout the decoration, with plum blossom dispersed among the green ground signifying beauty and moral purity, red bats symbolic of good fortune, incense burners representing ancestral worship, and vases symbolising peace.