Tea Bottle

German (Meissen decorated in Augsburg)
about 1730
Made at Meissen Manufactory (Germany), Possibly decorated by Sabina Aufenwerth (1706–1782)

Object Place: Europe, Meissen, decorated in Augsburg, Germany


18.2 cm (7 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Hard-paste porcelain with colored enamel and gilded decoration

On View

Charles C. Cunningham Gallery (Gallery 247)





The bottle swells from a circular foot to a bulbous quadrangular midsection and then contracts at the shoulder to form an elongated, tapering neck, which ends in a tall, recessed lip. The gilt strapwork, which fully decorates the shoulder of the bottle, extends upward to form four shaped panels on the neck that are further elaborated with iron-red and purple dots and trefoils. Each panel contains a standing Chinese figure in a garden. The four corners of the shoulder are decorated with shaped panels outlined in gold and containing a diaper pattern, painted in purple, enclosing iron-red dots. A large shaped panel outlined in gold decorates each of the four sides of the midsection of the bottle. Each panel contains Chinese figures in garden settings, engaged in various pursuits including drinking tea, preparing food, using a balance scale, and smoking a pipe. The four scenes are elaborated with various pieces of furniture and foliage painted in iron-red, purple, green, and blue. The foreground of each is painted a vivid green. Further shaped panels also enclosing a diaper pattern are found near the bases of the scenes where the body tapers to the foot. Both the foot rim and the mouth rim are gilded, as is the base. The bottle had been broken and repaired before the 1925 auction sale. The stopper, silver gilt with a knop finial and decorated with repeating engraved curvilinear motifs, is a replacement since that sale.


1925, Ludwig Darmstädter (b. 1846 - d. 1927), Berlin; March 24–26, 1925, Darmstädter sale, Rudolph Lepke, Berlin, lot 396. November 24, 1959, sold by A. and R. Ball, New York, to Rita and Frits Markus, New York; 1983, year-end gift of Rita and Frits Markus to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 18, 1984)

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus