The first form of the tea-caddy or cannister, as it was called in the 17th century, was copied from Chinese porcelain examples. The shape was rectangular or octagonal with a cover suitable for use as a measure and were chased with chinoiserie decoration.
The earliest Dutch caddies were mainly made in the secondary production centres like Haarlem and some of the Frisian towns. In the mayor cities people seem to have preferred to store tea in porcelain or earthenware caddies.
There is much diversity of opinion about the origin of these filigree caskets. As yet, an Indonesian origin seems likely. Jan van Campen attributes a group of closely related caskets to the town of Batavia. As the present casket is stylistically closely related to this group, it seems natural as to assume that it was manufactured there too. Not much is known about their original function. Some may have been used as sirih boxes. From the 17th century onwards filigree caskets were imported to Holland. Here they were transformed into tea caskets. The caddies for the present casket were manufactured by Amsterdam silversmith Reynier Brandt in 1754. In 1780 Brandt made the caddies for a second filigree casket which is fairly similar to the present one.
For comparative literature:
Jan van Campen, "Een kleine ronde draadwerkse doosie" en andere voorwerpen van zilverdraadwerk uit Azie" in: Aziatische kunst 31/3 (2001), pp. 36-53.
H. Vreeken et al., Goud en Zilver met Amsterdamse keuren, Zwolle, 2003, p. 191, no. 95.