Teapot and presentoir

DATE: 1723 - 1735 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels

Porcelain production during the Yongzheng period (1723-1735) took a step away from natural rustic forms and instead focused on refinement, with even thinner potted porcelain wares being produced. Such pieces were exported to Europe in vast quantities due to the ever-growing demand for Chinese and Japanese porcelain.

Teapots moulded as a chrysanthemum flower were first produced in the Yongzheng period through to the Qianlong reign in both coloured enamels and Yixing clay. Symbolic of autumn and the ninth moon, the chrysanthemum is an important motif in Chinese culture, representing longevity and vitality due to the plant’s health-giving properties.

The term famille rose used to describe Chinese ceramics decorated with rose-coloured enamels, was coined by French art historian Albert Jacquemart (1808-1875) towards the end of the 19th century in his seminal book ‘L’histoire de la Ceramique’. In China, this style of decoration was termed fencai meaning ‘pale colours’ or yangcai meaning ‘foreign colours’ as the enamel shade was first introduced from Europe in ca.1685. These pink tones remained the favourable style for over 50 years, overtaking the famille verte style by the Qianlong reign (1736-1795).