Meissen chinoiserie stand

Description
TITLE: Meissen chinoiserie stand
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: D. 11⅞" 30.2cm
OBJECT NAME: Plate
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1730
SUBJECT: Art
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 74.132
COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 666
ACCESSION NUMBER:
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.
PURCHASED FROM: Hans E. Backer, London, England, 1947.
This stand for an ecuelle 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.
Meissen’s chinoiserie period began in the 1720s following the arrival from Vienna of Johann Gregor Höroldt (1696-1775, who brought with him superior skills in enamel painting on porcelain. His highly significant contribution to Meissen was to develop a palette of very fine bright enamel colors that had so far eluded the team of metallurgists at the manufactory, and that were new to onglaze enamel colors on faience and porcelain in general. Höroldt and his team of painters used these colors to great effect in his singular vision of chinoiserie subjects, many of them based on drawings from what later became known as the Schulz Codex; a facsimile copy of the Schulz Codex can be seen in Rainer Behrend’s Das Meissener Musterbuch für Höroldt-Chinoiserien: Musterblätter aus der Malstube der Meissener Porzellanmanufaktur (Schulz Codex) Leipzig, 1978. Application of the term chinoiserie to this class of Meissen porcelains is problematic, however, because Johann Gregor Höroldt and his painters developed ideas from a variety of sources and Höroldt referred to the “chinoiseries” as “Japanese” (Japonische) figures, an early modern generic term for exotic artifacts and images imported from the East.
The stand, which at one time had an ecuelle, a covered bowl for serving soups or stews, has four reserves on the flange featuring chinoiserie scenes of adults and children strolling in garden settings and servants engaged in the preparation of food and drink. The miniature paintings are framed with scrollwork in gold, iron-red, and purple enamel. The interior of the stand has sprays of Indian flowers (indianische Blumen) that also occur on the flange between the reserves. This style of floral pattern was a Meissen elaboration of chrysanthemums and peonies on Chinese and Japanese porcelains in the royal collections in Dresden. Items like this passed through many hands in Meissen’s painting division where artisans applied specialist skills in the enamel painting of figures, flowers and foliage, gold scrollwork, and the polishing of the gold after firing.
On Johann Gregor Höroldt see Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp. 17-25.
On chinoiserie see Impey, O., 1977, Chinoiserie: the Impact of Oriental Styles on Western Art and Decoration; on the porcelain trade and European exposure to the Chinese product see the exhibition catalog by Emerson, J., Chen, J., Gardner Gates, M., 2000, Porcelain Stories: from China to Europe; see also the exhibition catalog edited by Bischoff, C., Hennings, A., 2008, Goldener Drache, Weisser Adler: Kunst im Dienste der Macht am Kaiserhof von China und am sächsische-polnischen Hof (1644-1795).
Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection, pp. 86-87.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1730
1730
maker
Meissen Manufactory
Physical Description
blue (overall color)
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, porcelain, hard-paste (overall material)
kakiemon (joint piece style)
Measurements
overall: 11 7/8 in; 30.1625 cm
overall: 1 5/8 in x 11 3/8 in; 4.1275 cm x 28.8925 cm
ID Number
CE.74.132
catalog number
74.132
collector/donor number
666
accession number
315259
Credit Line
Dr. Hans Syz
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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