Rondel or circular plaque. Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory. Period of Nicholas I. 1825 to 1845. NI mark in underglaze blue.
A group of wealthy merchants drinking tea, smoking opium and conducting trade. The scene speaks of the period leading up to the first Opium War, 1839 to 1842. Boiled down, the conflict resulted from resentments in China that came about from being forced to take opium in exchange for tea and porcelain. First it was the British Empire, then other western nations. In the years following the first Opium War, there were an estimated four to twelve million opium addicts in China.
Enamel painting on glazed porcelain. The slightly concave front and glazed back are unusual features suggesting it may have been fired upside down on a ring. It has not been removed from the mount to prove that one way or the other.
10cm in diameter (10.5 including mount).