This is a rare example of a Russian bullet-shaped teapot which was made in 1787. The bullet shape first became fashionable in English silver from the first half of the 18th century, and is so called because of its resemblance to the shape of the round lead musket balls used at that time. Tea is said to have been introduced into Russia in 1616 but it was slow to gain popularity. The opening of trade routes to China in 1689 led to a gradual increase in the amount of tea imported into Russia during the 18th century, although it remained extremely expensive and was only fashionable among the Russian nobility. It was not until the mid-19th century that Russian merchants were permitted to import tea by ship from Canton, allowing imports to rise steadily and prices to fall, making tea more affordable for the middle and lower classes.