DATE: 1868-1912 (made)
PLACE: Japan (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Earthenware painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

Three months after the closure of the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867, the Meiji Restoration took place in Japan. Japan’s success at the exhibition greatly influenced the foreign policy of this new government, which understood and appreciated the value of Japanese arts and crafts in earning valuable foreign currency. The manufacture of objects such as this teapot were part of Japan’s drive to export its art and crafts that had captured the imagination of the West. This Japanese Satsuma teapot has a spout in the shape of a bird and a finial in the shape of a monkey, motifs that were commonly used to decorate Satsuma wares. A stylised golden dragon is painted on the central section of the teapot, while the top depicts figures preparing for a wrestling match whilst beautiful women, known as bijin, observe.