Meissen covered bowl and stand

Meissen covered bowl and stand

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TITLE: Meissen covered bowl and stand
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: Bowl and cover: H. 5" 12.8 cm; Stand: d. 9" 22.9cm
OBJECT NAME: Bowl and stand
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
DATE MADE: 1745-1750
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 1987.0896.18 a,b,c
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; “22” impressed on stand; “9” or “6” impressed on bowl.
PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1943.
This covered bowl and stand 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 bowl and stand was probably used to serve hot broth. Painted in overglaze polychrome enamels the subjects are in the style of the Flemish painter David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690), the most successful of the seventeenth-century family of painters who specialized in subjects of peasant life, although not exclusively so. Teniers began his career painting interior subjects but later focused on outdoor scenes of rural celebrations in which farm laborers play, sing, and dance while others watch, eat, and drink. These subjects appealed to the European elites, who enjoyed on the one hand the vicarious pleasure of what they imagined to be an idyllic existence in rural communities removed from city and court life, and on the other a mixture of amusement, curiosity and contempt for the large numbers of rural poor on the lower levels of the social pyramid. On the cover a group of children dance and a man drinks in front of a woman and child. On the bowl a woman with a distaff in her hand sits beside a shepherd, and on the reverse side a shepherd cares for his flock beside his hut. On the saucer the scenes show a man playing the bagpipes while a couple dance, and a man plays a wind instrument on an upturned barrel with a couple standing nearby. All the figures are placed in riverside landscapes. Meissen accumulated a large collection of prints after the works of seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish artists whose popularity endured through the eighteenth century.
The Meissen manufactory operated under a system of division of labor. Enamel painters specializing in landscapes and subjects with figures were paid more than those who painted flowers, fruits and underglaze blue patterns. Most painters received pay by the piece rather than a regular wage.
Ornamental gold painting and polishing was the work of other specialists in the manufactory’s painting division.
On Teniers see Hans Vlieghe’s biography David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690), 2011.
On the painting division at Meissen see Rückert, R., 1990, Biographische Daten der Meissener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, pp. 134-136.
Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 314-315.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1745-1750
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Germany: Saxony, Meissen
Physical Description
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
polychrome enamels and gold (overall color)
genre scenes of rural life (overall style)
bowl and cover: 5 in; 12.7 cm
stand: 9 in; 22.86 cm
overall bowl and cover: 5 3/16 in x 7 7/8 in x 5 3/4 in; 13.17625 cm x 20.0025 cm x 14.605 cm
overall stand: 1 5/8 in x 9 in; 4.1275 cm x 22.86 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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