Meissen tea bowl and saucer

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Description
TITLE: Meissen quatrefoil tea bowl and saucer
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: Tea bowl: H. 1¾" 4.5cm; Saucer: W. 4½" 11.4cm x 4" 10.2cm
OBJECT NAME: Tea bowl and saucer
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1730-1735
SUBJECT: Art
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 1983.0565.12 ab
COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 247 ab
ACCESSION NUMBER:
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “//” incised.
PURCHASED FROM: Minerva Antiques, New York, 1943.
This tea bowl and saucer 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 tea bowl and saucer in quatrefoil shape have an onglaze enamel painted pattern adapted from Japanese motifs in the Kakiemon style by Meissen artists. The design has scattered stylized flowers and two bundles of rice on both the tea bowl and the saucer. The rims have a single line painted in an iron-oxide glaze as seen on many original Japanese Kakiemon type vessels and on earlier Chinese blue and white vessels of the late Ming period (1368-1644).
The onglaze enamel design was first produced at Meissen for the Parisian dealer Rodolphe Lemaire, who sold Meissen porcelain fraudulently for higher prices, passing them off as original Japanese pieces for which there was a great demand. After confiscation of all remaining Meissen products held on the property of his Saxon accomplice Count Hoym, the pattern was later used for the dinner service commissioned for Count Alexander Joseph Sulkowski.
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.
For a detailed account of the Kakiemon style 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 and Impey, O., Jörg, J. A., Mason, C., 2009, Dragons, Tigers and Bamboo: Japanese Porcelain and its Impact in Europe, the Macdonald Collection, p. 127. See also Takeshi Nagataki, 2003, Classic Japanese Porcelain: Imari and Kakiemon.
On the Sulkowski dinner service see Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp. 278-280. See also Weber, J., 2013, Meissener Porzellane mit Dekoren nach ostasiatischen Vorbildern: Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloss Lustheim, Band II, S. 185-187; Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collection from the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, p. 278, for a dish with the same Kakiemon pattern.
For a Vincennes copy of a Meissen bowl that carries this pattern see den Blaauwen, A. L., 2000, Meissen Porcelain in the Rijksmuseum, p. 249.
Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 152-153.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1730-1735
1730-1735
maker
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Deutschland: Sachsen, Meissen
Physical Description
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
polychrome enamels (overall color)
Kakiemon (overall style)
Measurements
bowl: 1 3/4 in; 4.445 cm
saucer: 4 1/2 in x 4 in; 11.43 cm x 10.16 cm
overall tea bowl: 1 7/8 in x 2 7/8 in x 2 3/4 in; 4.7625 cm x 7.3025 cm x 6.985 cm
overall saucer: 1 in x 4 5/8 in x 4 3/16 in; 2.54 cm x 11.7475 cm x 10.6045 cm
ID Number
1983.0565.12ab
catalog number
1983.0565.12ab
accession number
1983.0565
collector/donor number
247ab
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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