Skip to main content

Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

German

Meissen Porcelain (Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen) is one of the preeminent porcelain factories in Europe and was the first to produce true porcelain outside of Asia. It was established in 1710 under the auspices of King Augustus II “the Strong” of Saxony-Poland (1670–1733), a keen collector of Asian ceramics, particularly Ming porcelain.

In pursuing his passion, which he termed his “maladie de porcelaine,” Augustus spent vast sums, amassing some 20,000 pieces of Japanese and Chinese ceramics. These, along with examples of early Meissen, comprise the Porzellansammlung, or porcelain collection, of the Zwinger Palace, in Dresden.

The king was determined, however, to free the European market from its dependence on Asian imports and to give European artisans the freedom to create their own porcelain designs. To this end, he charged the scientist Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and aspiring alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger with the task of using local materials to produce true, hard-paste porcelain (as opposed to the soft-paste variety European ceramists in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Spain had been producing since the late Renaissance). In 1709, the pair succeeded in doing just that, employing kaolin, or “china clay.” A year later, the Meissen factory was born.

In its first decades, Meissen mostly looked to Asian models, producing wares based on Japanese Kakiemon ceramics and pieces with Chinese-inflected decorations called chinoiserie. During the 1720s its painters drew inspiration from the works of Watteau, and the scenes of courtly life, fruits and flowers that adorned fashionable textiles and wallpaper. It was in this period that Meissen introduced its famous cobalt-blue crossed swords logo — derived from the arms of the Elector of Saxony as Arch-Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire — to distinguish its products from those of competing factories that were beginning to spring up around Europe.

By the 1730s, Meissen’s modelers and decorators had mastered the style of Asian ceramics, and Augustus encouraged them to develop a new, original aesthetic. The factory’s director, Count Heinrich von Brühl, used Johann Wilhelm Weinmann’s botanical drawings as the basis for a new line of wares with European-style surface decoration. The Blue Onion pattern (Zwiebelmuster), first produced in 1739, melded Asian and European influences, closely following patterns used in Chinese underglaze-blue porcelain, but replacing exotic flora and fruits with Western varieties (likely peaches and pomegranates, not onions) along with peonies and asters.

During the same period, head modeler Joachim Kändler (1706–75) began crafting delicate porcelain figures derived from the Italian commedia dell’arte. Often used as centerpieces on banquet tables and decorated to reflect the latest fashions in courtly dress for men and women, these figurines were popular in their day, and are still considered among Meissen’s most iconic creations. Kändler also created the Swan Service, which, with its complex low-relief surface design and minimal decoration is considered a masterpiece of Baroque ceramics.

The rise of Neoclassicism in the latter half of the 18th century forced Meissen to change artistic direction and begin producing monumental vases, clocks, chandeliers and candelabra. In the 20th century, Meissen added to its 18th-century repertoire decidedly modern designs, including ones in the Art Nouveau style. The 1920s saw the introduction of numerous animal figures, such as the popular sea otter (Fischotter), which graced an East German postage stamp in the 1960s. Starting in 1933, artistic freedom was limited at the factory under the Nazi regime, and after World War II, when the region became part of East Germany, it struggled to reconcile its elite past with the values of the Communist government. In 1969, however, new artistic director Karl Petermann reintroduced the early designs and fostered a new degree of artistic license. Meissen became one of the few companies to prosper in East Germany.

Owned by the State of Saxony since reunification, in 1990, Meissen continues to produce its classic designs together with new ones developed collaboratively with artists from all over the world. In addition, through its artCAMPUS program, the factory has invited distinguished ceramic artists, such as Chris Antemann and Arlene Shechet, to work in its studios in collaboration with its skilled modelers and painters. The resulting works of contemporary sculpture are inspired by Meissen’s rich and complex legacy.

Find a collection of authentic Meissen Porcelain on 1stDibs.

3
to
2
1
3
3
3
2
1
3
3
2
2
1
1
1
327
318
139
55
54
Creator: Meissen Porcelain
Rare Meissen Marcolini Porcelain Chinoiserie Incense Burner Vase and Cover
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
A rare Meissen Marcolini Porcelain Chinoiserie incense burner vase and cover, made for the Chinese market, circa 1800, blue cross swords and star mark, Pressnummer 58 A Museum Quality Piece. Painted in the sought after famille rose palette with sprigs of indianische Blumen and enriched in gilding, the simulated pierced body supported by four feet painted with stylized dragons, the pierced cover with a Buddhist lion finial. 10" high x 6" wide x 6" deep The shape of this piece, which appears to be unrecorded in the literature, is inspired by similar Chinese porcelain censers from the Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period (1654-1722). An example in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated by Li Yi-hua in Qing Porcelain of Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Periods from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, pl. 65. Another in the British Museum, London (museum no. PDF, A.812) is catalogued as a perfume-holder. These porcelain examples are in turn inspired by ancient Chinese bronzes from both the Shang (1600-1046 BC) and the Zhou (1046-246 BCE) dynasties, an example of which was sold anonymously by Christie's New York, 22 March 2019, lot 1601. This chain of inspiration tracking backwards from the 19th century to antiquity provides a clear example of how ceramics, and indeed other mediums, are able to influence and motivate the works of later generations. For a Meissen porcelain snuff...
Category

Late 18th Century German Chinoiserie Antique Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of 18th Century Chinese & Meissen Famille Verte Porcelain Plates
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Fort Lauderdale, FL
A pair of famille verte porcelain plates, the left made in China during the Kangxi period (r. 1662–1722) and the right a copy by Meissen made circa 1740. Chinese porcelain has alw...
Category

Early 18th Century Chinese Chinese Export Antique Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

Two Meissen Porcelain Chinese Nodding Pagode Figures
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in London, GB
Called ‘pagode’ (or pagoda) figures, these Meissen Porcelain models are based on the sculptures of deities found in pagoda temples in the Far East. Meissen began to produce these kinds of porcelain figures in the early 18th century, prompted by the demand for the Far Eastern ‘pagodes’ being imported into Europe at this time. The Meissen factory in Germany was founded in 1709 and was the first producer of true porcelain wares in Europe. The company’s main patron was Augustus II the Strong, the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. Meissen was, and continues to be, famous for its tableware, vases, candelabra, animal sculptures and figures, like this pair, which were often graceful and light-hearted in character. These models feature the Meissen mark of the two blue crossed swords on their undersides. These porcelain models take the form of a Chinese couple...
Category

19th Century German Chinoiserie Antique Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

Related Items
Japanese Contemporary Ko-Imari Gold Blue Porcelain Koro Incense Burner
Located in Takarazuka, JP
Stunning contemporary Japanese Ko-Imari style porcelain koro or incense burner or jewelry box, hand painted on a beautifully shaped round body in cobalt blue, red and green and gener...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Japanese Meiji Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Gold

Chinese Porcelain Plate with Dragon Decoration "Famille Verte" 18th Century
Located in Beuzevillette, FR
Very beautiful porcelain plate of the green family with dragon decoration in the 18th century. The decoration is finely executed by hand, we see a green and golden dragon, with friez...
Category

18th Century Chinese Antique Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Ceramic

Japanese Modern LAAB 2 Incenso Incense Holders Raku Ceramics White Crackle
By LAAB Milano
Located in monza, Monza and Brianza
Incenso set An extraordinary addition to a contemporary decor for a stunning visual allure, this set of two incense holders features a raw, porous shape deftly handcrafted following the Japanese technique of naked Raku ceramic firing...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Ceramic

Chinese Porcelain Plate Blue And White From The Blue Family, 19th Century
Located in Beuzevillette, FR
Nice « Blanc Bleu » porcelain plate dating from XIX th century. Blue and white porcelain soup plate. White and blue plate with a couple of peacocks flying through plants and flowers. This porcelain is characteristic of the blue family. The arrival of porcelain in Europe was linked to the development of shipping and international trade. Porcelain was very popular in Europe because of its lightness and its durability. The import from China is linked to the lack of mastery of this technique by the Europeans. The French, Dutch and British East India...
Category

1850s Chinese Chinese Export Antique Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

Old Rare Wooden Sculpture "Sleeping Chinese Baby"
Located in Alessandria, Piemonte
Enjoyable wooden statue with a smiling sleeping Chinese baby, with the head resting on a pillow. This was used as a head rest for elaborate hairstyles of...
Category

Late 19th Century Chinese Chinoiserie Antique Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Hardwood

18th Century Chinese Plate Blue and White Porcelain, Qing Qianlong circa 1770
Located in Lincoln, Lincolnshire
This is a very good condition hand-painted Chinese Export porcelain plate, in a typical hand painted pattern and dating to the second half of the 18th Century, Qing Qianlong period, ...
Category

18th Century Chinese Chinese Export Antique Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

Old Japanese Porcelain Lidded Incense Burner in the Original Box
Located in Norton, MA
Old Japanese porcelain lidded incense burner in the original box The lid with the lion, two pierced handles on each side, and four feet at the four corners to stand. This is an old...
Category

Mid-20th Century Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

18th Century Chinese Export Porcelain Dish Blue & White hand painted immortals
Located in Lincoln, Lincolnshire
This is a hand-painted Chinese Export porcelain Dish, which we date to the second half of the 18th century, Qing, Qianlong period, circa 1770, or possibly earlier. The dish is circu...
Category

Mid-18th Century Chinese Qing Antique Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

Old or Antique Chinese Export Famille Rose Plate with Basket of Flowers
Located in Philadelphia, PA
A fine old or antique Chinese export porcelain plate In the Famille Rose style. Decorated throughout with enamel floral decoration in primarily pink against a white ground. ...
Category

Early 20th Century Chinese Chinese Export Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

Chinese Export Porcelain Plate Hand Painted Dragon and Phoenix, circa 1960
Located in Lincoln, Lincolnshire
This is a good Chinese export porcelain plate which has been beautifully hand enameled, over-glaze, in very good detail, dating to circa 1950. The main design is hand painted over-glaze with different colored enamels, depicting a 5-toed Dragon and a Fenghuang (Phoenix) with "double happiness" and "long life" symbol marks in brick red, all surrounded by various floral sprigs against a white ground. The base is very neatly trimmed with the makers mark printed in red and stating: Zhongguo (China...
Category

Mid-20th Century Chinese Chinese Export Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

Chinese Plate, 18th Century
Located in Aalsgaarde, DK
Chinese plate, 18th century Measures: H. 2 Dia. 23 cm H. 0.7 Dia. 9 in.
Category

18th Century Chinese Antique Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Chinese Plate, 18th Century
Chinese Plate, 18th Century
H 0.79 in Dm 9.06 in
Pair of Vintage Blue Glazed Chinese Porcelain Cat Figurines- Signed
Located in Fort Washington, MD
Beautiful pair of turquoise blue ceramic cat figurines. This is a left and right matching pair of Asian blue art pottery cats, ceramic cat statues t...
Category

Early 20th Century Chinese Chinese Export Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain asian art and furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Meissen porcelain asian art and furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of porcelain and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Meissen Porcelain asian art and furniture, although beige editions of this piece are particularly popular. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider asian art and furniture by Tuck Chang & Co., Luen Wo, and Hung Chong & Co.. Prices for Meissen Porcelain asian art and furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $15,000 and can go as high as $88,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $27,960.
Questions About Meissen Porcelain Asian Art and Furniture
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    To spot a fake Meissen, first, check the maker’s mark, generally found on the bottom of the porcelain. Meissen used a simple mark, so if you spot one that appears too embellished, it may be a fake. Shop a collection of properly vetted Meissen porcelain from some of the world’s top dealers on 1stDibs.

Recently Viewed

View All