About this artwork
The Meissen Porcelain Manufactory was established in 1710 at Meissen, near Dresden in Germany. It was the first European factory to succeed in making hard-paste porcelain like that imported from China and Japan. From the 1720s, the chief painter at Meissen was Johann Gregorius Höroldt (1696–1775), who developed techniques to make the porcelain ground whiter, to better show off the range of enamel colors he introduced: greens, yellow, purples, and browns.
18th-century Europeans loved porcelain not only for its dazzling beauty, but also because it holds heat well, a useful feature in this period, when beverages like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate had become extremely fashionable. The scenes on this teapot are examples of chinoiserie, the imaginative Western interpretation of Chinese figures and motifs. Here, some Chinese men attract and play with birds, and two others engage in a tea ceremony, a witty reference to the function of the teapot. The lid, shaped like a Chinese temple bell, is decorated with Indianische Blumen (Indian flowers), a popular motif on German porcelain. This motif was actually Japanese in origin, an indication of how confused Westerners could be about Asian cultures at the time.
- Meissen Porcelain Manufactory
- Hard-paste porcelain with polychrome enamels and gilding
- 12.5 × 11 cm (4 9/10 × 4 3/10 in.)
- Gift of Mrs. Edgar J. Uihlein through the Antiquarian Society