Teapot

ARTIST / MAKER: Unknown
DATE: ca.1780 (made)
PLACE: Japan (made)
Europe (made) mounts
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in underglaze and overglaze enamels with gilt metal mounts
COLLECTION NUMBER: 418

From 1639 until the mid-1850s, the merchants of the Dutch East India Company were the only Europeans permitted to conduct trade in Japan. This was due to the Japanese government’s seclusion policy, which was enforced during this period. As a result of social unrest and the fall of the Ming Dynasty in China, traders turned to the Arita potters in Japan who could produce the export wares that were in high demand in the West. This rare cobalt blue teapot has two sunken niches, one which contains a cockerel and eggs. Porcelain with recessed panels was only produced in Japan for a short period of time because it was expensive and time-consuming to make. The addition of silver mounts, which may have been added in Europe, transform this piece into a precious object and would have emphasized its rarity in the West.