Meissen coffee pot and cover


TITLE: Coffeepot and cover

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: H. 9" 22.9cm

OBJECT NAME: Coffeepot

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany



Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: 1983.0565.33 a,b



(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crosssed swords in underglaze blue; “26” impressed.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1943.

This coffeepot 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 octagonal coffeepot and cover have reserves in white surrounded by a yellow ground. On the pot the reserves contain onglaze enamel painted Indian flowers (indianische Blumen) and a fruiting plant, probably a grape vine that grows close to the base of a rock. A hawk-like bird with half-folded wings picks from the plant. On the lid the two reserves contain sprays of Indian flowers. The Meissen painting division adapted the design from Chinese famille verte onglaze and underglaze enamel painting of the K’ang Hsi period (1662-1722); famille verte refers to that group of Chinese porcelains with a color palette dominated by translucent emerald green enamel pigments. Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland (1670-1733), collected a large amount of famille verte porcelain from China, and another Meissen pattern (ID# 1983.0565.25), the so-called butterfly pattern (Schmetterlingmuster) was derived from Chinese prototypes.

For additional items in a very similar service see:

On famille verte see Valenstein, S. G., 1975 (1989), A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, pp.227-236.

See also Pietsch, U., 2010, Passion for Meissen: The Said and Roswitha Marouf Collection, pp.298-300.

On colored grounds see Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp. 267-274.

Ayers, J., Impey, O., Mallet, J.V.G., 1990, Porcelain for Palaces: the fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1750; Weber, J., 2013, Meissener Porzellane mit Dekoren nach ostasiatischen Vorbildern: Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloss Lustheim, Band II, S. 422-423.

Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 190-191.

Date Made: ca 17401740

Maker: Meissen Manufactory

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Germany: Saxony, Meissen

Subject: Manufacturing


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass, The Hans C. Syz Collection, Meissen Porcelain: The Hans Syz Collection, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1983.0565.33abCatalog Number: 1983.0565.33abAccession Number: 1983.0565Collector/Donor Number: 406ab

Object Name: coffeepot

Physical Description: hard-paste porcelain (overall material)polychrome enamels (overall color)Kakiemon (overall style)Measurements: overall: 9 in; 22.86 cmoverall: 8 7/8 in x 6 1/8 in x 4 1/2 in; 22.5425 cm x 15.5575 cm x 11.43 cm


Record Id: nmah_1415421

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.