Meissen plate

Description
TITLE: Meissen plate
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: D. 8⅜" 21.3cm
OBJECT NAME: Plate
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1729-1731
SUBJECT: Art
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 1982.0796.10
COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 1021
ACCESSION NUMBER:
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in overglaze blue.
PURCHASED FROM: The Art Exchange, New York, 1957.
This plate is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.
The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in the German States, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.
The plate is decorated in the Japanese Kakiemon style with banded hedges, chrysanthemums and peonies in the center with four floral sprays on the rim.
Banded rice or brushwood fences occur frequently in the enamel painted porcelains from Arita that were exported to Europe and they represent a garden landscape. Today, this ancient method of fencing takes available brushwoods that are bound to horizontal lengths of bamboo and are favored in gardens surrounding tea gardens and temples. The many petaled flowers of chrysanthemum and peony are seen together frequently on Japanese Kakiemon porcelains, but the design on this plate is more crowded with the floral motifs placed in a symmetrical pattern that indicates a Meissen adaptation from a Japanese prototype, and no Japanese model for this pattern has been identified in the porcelain collection in Dresden. The enamel painting is also handled too heavily to match the original Japanese Kakiemon style. It was a matter of great importance to the Meissen Manufactory that its products should match the quality of the best Chinese and Japanese porcelain in order to defray the need to import from the Far East, but this requirement was exploited by the Parisian dealer Rodolphe Lemaire, who sold Meissen copies of Japanese porcelains at inflated prices in Paris. In this example the quality of the glaze also falls short in comparison to the Japanese prototypes.
Kakiemon is the name given to very white (nigoshida meaning milky-white) finely potted Japanese porcelain made in the Nangawara Valley near the town of Arita in the North-West of the island of Kyushu. The porcelain bears a characteristic style of enamel painting using a palette of translucent colors painted with refined assymetric designs attributed to a family of painters with the name Kakiemon. In the 1650s, when Chinese porcelain was in short supply due to civil unrest following the fall of the Ming Dynasty to the Manchu in 1644, Arita porcelain was at first exported to Europe through the Dutch East India Company’s base on the island of Dejima in the Bay of Nagasaki. The Japanese traded Arita porcelain only with Chinese, Korean, and Dutch merchants and the Chinese resold Japanese porcelain to the Dutch in Batavia (present day Jakarta), to the English and French at the port of Canton (present day Guangzhou) and Amoy (present day Xiamen). Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, obtained Japanese porcelain through his agents operating in Amsterdam who purchased items from Dutch merchants, and from a Dutch dealer in Dresden, Elizabeth Bassetouche.
On the Kakiemon syle and its European imitators see Ayers, J., Impey, O., Mallet, J.V.G., 1990, Porcelain for Palaces: the fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1750. See also Takeshi Nagataki, 2003, Classic Japanese Porcelain: Imari and Kakiemon.
On the Hoym-Lemaire affair see Weber, J., 2013, Meissener Porzellane mit Dekoren nach ostasiatischen Vorbildern: Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloss Lustheim, Band I, and for examples of Meissen pieces with a similar but not identical pattern see S. 191-194.
Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 154-155.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1725
1725
maker
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Deutschland: Sachsen, Meissen
Physical Description
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
polychrome enamels (overall color)
Kakiemon (European) (overall style)
Measurements
overall: 8 3/8 in; 21.2725 cm
overall: 1 in x 8 3/8 in; 2.54 cm x 21.2725 cm
ID Number
1982.0796.10
accession number
1982.0796
catalog number
1982.0796.10
collector/donor number
1021
subject
Manufacturing
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
Art
The Hans C. Syz Collection
Meissen Porcelain: The Hans Syz Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Comments

Add a comment about this object