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Meissen sugar bowl and cover (part of a service)

Meissen sugar bowl and cover (part of a service)

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TITLE: Meissen coffee service
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: Coffee pot and cover: H. 9¼" 23.5cm; Waste bowl: D. 6" 15.3cm; Sugar bowl and cover: H. 4½" 11.5cm; Milk jug and cover: H. 4⅜" 11.1cm; Oval dish: L. 6⅜" 16.2cm; Tea bowl: H. 1¾" 4.5cm; Saucer: D. 5" 12.8cm
OBJECT NAME: Coffee service
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1730-1740
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: Coffeepot and cover 1983.0565.17ab; Waste bowl 1983.0565.18; Sugar bowl and cover 1983.0565.19ab; Milk jug 1983.0565.20ab; Oval dish 1983.0565.21; Two tea bowls and saucers 1983.0565.22Aab,Bab
COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 267ab;269;271ab;137ab;136;138Aab,Bab
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.
PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, 1942/1943.
This sugar bowl from a coffee service 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.
Painted on this coffee service in underglaze blue and onglaze purple and gold is the so-called “little table” pattern (Tischchenmuster), a Meissen adaptation of Far Eastern styles. There are many examples of this pattern and some of the finest have a wider range of colors to include flowers and foliage in red, yellow and green. Typically the pattern has an abundance of flowers rising from behind a small table that stands before a stylized garden fence, and the Japanese producers of porcelain in Arita developed designs of this kind for the European market where the symmetry of the pattern that grows to fill the space available appealed to European taste. Meissen designers developed the pattern further from prototypes in the Dresden collection with characteristics of both Imari and Kakiemon styles. Meissen’s “little table” pattern was popular, but not in use on services for the Saxon and Polish royal household; it appears only on tea and coffee services produced at the Meissen Manufactory very likely for consumers from the increasingly affluent entrepreneurial class in the German States, especially in cities like Leipzig and Berlin.
For more examples of the little table pattern see Pietsch, U., 2010, Passion for Meissen: The Said and Roswitha Marouf Collection, pp. 338-342; Weber, J., 2013, Meissener Porzellane mit Dekoren nach ostasiatischen Vorbildern: Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloss Lustheim, Band II, S. 95-103; Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collectionfrom the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, pp. 312-319;
Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmaler, pp. 166-167.
Currently not on view
Object Name
bowl, sugar
date made
ca 1730-1740
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Germany: Saxony, Meissen
Physical Description
blue underglaze (overall color)
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
underglaze blue, purple enamel, and gold (overall color)
Kakiemon and Imari (European adaptation) (overall style)
overall: 4 1/2 in; 11.43 cm
overall: 4 5/16 in x 4 1/2 in; 10.9855 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
The Hans C. Syz Collection
Meissen Porcelain: The Hans Syz Collection
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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