Meissen coffee pot and cover

Meissen coffee pot and cover

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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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1740
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Germany: Saxony, Meissen
Physical Description
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
polychrome enamels (overall color)
Kakiemon (overall style)
overall: 9 in; 22.86 cm
overall: 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
ID Number
catalog number
accession 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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