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Meissen plate

Meissen plate

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TITLE: Meissen plate (Coronation service)
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: D. 8¾" 22.3cm
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1733-1734
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing1983.0565.42
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 1983.0565.42
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “N=147/W” engraved (Johanneum mark).
PURCHASED FROM: William H. Lautz, New York, 1966.
This plate 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 service to which this plate belongs, known since the nineteenth century as the Coronation Service, was probably commissioned soon after the death in 1733 of Elector of Saxony and King of Poland Augustus II, in anticipation of his son’s succession and coronation in Krakow, Poland, the following year. The coat of arms represents the union of Saxony, Poland and Lithuania and the complete service may have formed a display or ‘buffet’ in the manner of gold or silver plate at the coronation of Augustus III at Wawel Castle in Krakow in 1734, especially as some of the dishes made were unusually large. On such an important royal occasion the new king and his guests would eat from a silver service rather than porcelain.
Surrounding the coat of arms framed by a cartouche in Böttger luster and gold surmounted by a royal crown are scattered enamel painted Kakiemon flowers and rice-sheaves. An elaborate border of lozenges, leaf and strap work (Laub und Bandelwerk) painted in gold surrounds the rim of the plate which has no foot ring on the underside, instead the center is sunken in the manner of Chinese plates of the eighteenth century and other plates from this service have the same atypical form. Recorded in the 1779 inventory in Dresden the service numbered 77 pieces in total of which 37 were plates.
For more examples of this service see Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, pp. 96-97; 277-278; Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collection from the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, p. 459.
Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 286-287.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1730-1735
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Germany: Saxony, Meissen
Physical Description
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
polychrome enamels and gold (overall color)
armorial (overall style)
overall: 8 3/4 in; 22.225 cm
overall: 1 1/8 in x 8 25/32 in; 2.8575 cm x 22.3139 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
The Hans C. Syz Collection
Meissen Porcelain: The Hans Syz Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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