Meissen bowl

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Description
TITLE: Meissen rinsing bowl
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: H. 3½" 8.9cm; D. 6¾" 17.2cm
OBJECT NAME: Rinsing bowl
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1740
SUBJECT: Art
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 1983.0565.28
COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 697
ACCESSION NUMBER:
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “18” impressed.
PURCHASED FROM: Hans E. Backer, London, England, 1947.
This rinsing bowl 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.
This rinsing bowl has a Japanese Kakiemon style pattern of rocks and tree peonies painted in onglaze enamel colors and gold. The pattern of rocks and peonies came from a Japanese prototype, possibly from the Dresden royal collections and first exploited by the Parisian dealer Rodolphe Lemaire, but which continued in production following exposure of Lemaire’s and Count Hoym’s fraudulent activities at Meissen. Lemaire persuaded the Manufactory to make close copies of Japanese porcelain that he sold on the Parisian luxury market as original Kakiemon pieces that were in high demand and for which he could command a high price. Gold would not have been applied to the items the Meissen Manufactory made for Lemaire, and this bowl was made after exposure of Hoym and Lemaire’s deception.
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.
Rinsing bowls (slop or waste bowls) were used to catch the dregs of tea and coffee before a cup was refilled.
On Japanese Kakiemon porcelain 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; Impey, O., Jörg, J. A., Mason, C., 2009, Dragons, Tigers and Bamboo: Japanese Porcelain and its Impact in Europe, the Macdonald Collection.
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 on the rock and peony pattern with further examples see Band II, S. 198-207.
Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 176-177.
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 and gold (overall color)
Kakiemon (overall style)
Measurements
overall: 3 1/2 in x 6 3/4 in; 8.89 cm x 17.145 cm
overall: 3 1/2 in x 6 7/8 in; 8.89 cm x 17.4625 cm
ID Number
1983.0565.28
accession number
1983.0565
catalog number
1983.0565.28
collector/donor number
697
subject
Manufacturing
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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