Meissen leaf dish

Description
TITLE: Meissen leaf dish
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: L. 9½" 24.2cm
OBJECT NAME: Leaf dish
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1740
SUBJECT: Art
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 1983.0565.26
COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 336
ACCESSION NUMBER:
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “26” impressed.
PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1943.
This leaf dish is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain 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 leaf-shaped dish with a molded interior has a design of a butterfly on a flowering branch with two more sprays of flowers and a smaller insect in the center. The brown rim line seen on this leaf dish is characteristic of Japanese Kakiemon porcelain and it is an iron rich glaze that may have been adopted from Chinese blue and white porcelain of the late Ming dynasty (1368-1644); known as fuchibeni it is also thought to be a technique for protecting thin porcelain rims from chipping. The origin of this pattern comes from Chinese famille verte porcelain of the K’ang-Hsi period (1662-1722) but it is painted in the style of Japanese Kakiemon porcelain, and is probably a Meissen adaptation of Far Eastern models. A large dinner service decorated with the “butterfly pattern” (Schmetterlingsmuster or decor) is listed in the inventory for the Hubertusburg hunting lodge where Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland liked to hold court entertainments.
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 butterfly pattern see Weber, J., 2013, Meissener Pozellane mit Dekoren nach ostasiatischen Vorbildern: Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloss Lustheim, pp. 344-356; Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collection from the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, pp.252-253.
On the Japanese Kakiemon style and its European imitators see Impey, O., Jörg, J. A., Mason, C., 2009, Dragons, Tigers and Bamboo: Japanese Porcelain and its Impact in Europe, the Macdonald Collection; Ayers, J., Impey, O., Mallet, J.V.G., 1990, Porcelain for Palaces: the fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1750; Takeshi Nagataki, 2003, Classic Japanese Porcelain: Imari and Kakiemon.
On the impact of Chinese porcelain in a global context see Robert Finlay, 2010, The Pilgrim Art: Cultures of Porcelain in World History.
Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 170-171.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1740
1740
maker
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Deutschland: Sachsen, Meissen
Physical Description
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
polychrome enamels (overall color)
Kakiemon (overall style)
Measurements
overall: 9 1/2 in; 24.13 cm
overall: 1 1/2 in x 9 5/8 in x 6 5/16 in; 3.81 cm x 24.4475 cm x 16.0655 cm
ID Number
1983.0565.26
accession number
1983.0565
catalog number
1983.0565.26
collector/donor number
336
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

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