Costume balls played an important role in courtly entertainment in Vienna at the time that this figure was made, and masked or masquerade balls were regularly held under themes such as kingdoms, Wirtschaft1 or peasant weddings. These festivities saw guests dressing as anything from Compostela pilgrims to waiters, from cavaliers to street vendors. The Vienna manufactory produced a number of figures that mirrored this interest in masquerading as entertainment. The unusual costume worn by this peasant figure has a Far Eastern feel that reflects the contemporary interest in exoticism, yet it is so richly trimmed with fur that it would not have looked out of place at a courtly gathering. For an illustration of this model and a detailed discussion of this type of figure and courtly entertainments of the time see, Elisabeth Sturm-Bednarczyk and Elisabeth Sladek, Ceremonies, Feasts, Costumes, Viennese Porcelain Figures during the Reign of Maria Theresia, Vienna, 2007, pp. 103-127, no. 144.
1. Scenarios based on occupations and working communities, perhaps on a country estate, in a vineyard or at an inn. See Elisabeth Sturm-Bednarczyk and Elisabeth Sladek, ibid., Vienna, 2007, p. 106.