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Meissen Porcelain Vases

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.

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Creator: Meissen Porcelain
Meissen Cabinet Vase with Applied Fruits and Flowers
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Meissen cabinet vase with applied fruits and flowers, exquisite gourd bottle shape with numerous applied fruits and flowers, and painted with insects. Various all-over minor damages,...
Category

Late 19th Century German Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of Important Porcelain Vases with Female Heads by Augustus Rex for Meissen
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Marcq-en-Barœul, Hauts-de-France
This pair of important and very beautiful vases is made of ceramic with 2 female faces and beautiful and fine decors. These vases were made for Meissen manufacture by Augustus Rex (a...
Category

1850s French Romantic Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

A 19th Century Meissen Porcelain 'Elements' Ewer Emblematic of Air
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
A 19th century Meissen porcelain 'Elements' ewer emblematic of air. Blue crossed swords mark. The present ewer, representing water, is after the set modelled by Johann Joachim Ka¨ndl...
Category

1880s German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

19th Century Meissen Porcelain 'Elements' Ewer Emblematic of Water
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
A 19th century Meissen porcelain 'Elements' ewer emblematic of water. Blue crossed swords mark. The present ewer, representing water, is after the set modelled by Johann Joachim Ka¨n...
Category

1870s German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of 19th Century Meissen Gold & White Neoclassical Serpent Handled Vases
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Pair of 19th Century Meissen gold & white neoclassical serpent handled vases. Germany, circa 1880s Design attributed to E.A. Leuteritz Hard to find a pair of understated Meisse...
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Late 19th Century German Neoclassical Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Important Pair of Meissen Porcelain Filigree Vases with Raised Flowers
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
A Highly Important pair of Museum Quality Louis XV Period 18th century Meissen Porcelain filigree openwork vases with a medially of flowers and vined leaves. This is truly an excepti...
Category

1750s German Louis XV Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain Pot-Pourri Vase, Germany, 19th Century
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
Meissen porcelain pot-pourri vase, Germany, 19th century.
Category

Late 19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

18th-19th Century Porcelain Soup Signed Meissen
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Napoli, IT
Important porcelain soup tureen with polychrome decoration of flowers and gilt highlights, the handle of the seed lid, the handles with Egyptian busts and laurel festoons. Maissen Di...
Category

Late 18th Century Italian Neoclassical Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of German Porcelain Vases, Meissen, circa 1745
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
Pair of German porcelain vases, Meissen, circa 1745.
Category

Mid-18th Century German Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of Polychrome and Gilt Porcelains from the Meissen Manufacture
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Paris, FR
Pair of perfume burners in polychrome porcelain from the Meissen manufacture. They are crowned by removable openwork lids decorated with bouquets of flowers. Their bodies are decorat...
Category

1810s French Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Large Meissen Double Handle Vase w/ Lovers and Floral Panels after Watteau
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
A Gorgeous and large Meissen double handle vase with Watteau lovers panel and flower panel scenes. The panels are completed after the works by Jean-Antoine Watteau, the most famous F...
Category

1890s German Louis XVI Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Snake Handle Vase with Rose Soft Painting, by Leuteritz, ca 1865 H:49 cm
By Ernst August Leuteritz, Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
Very large double-snake-handled vase in baluster form on a mounted funnel-shaped base, laterally raised handles in the form of coiled pairs of snakes, white and cobalt-blue backgroun...
Category

1860s German Baroque Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair Meissen Pate Sur Pate Vases, 19th Century
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Brighton, Sussex
A fine quality pair of late 19th Century Meissen porcelain Pate sur pate lidded vases, each in a Cobalt blue ground, with gilded boarders and various cherubs playing musical instrume...
Category

Late 19th Century German Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Cobalt Ground Pâte-sur-pâte Figural Vase, Attributed to Leuteritz
By Ernst August Leuteritz, Meissen Porcelain
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Meissen Cobalt Ground Pâte-sur-pâte Figural Vase, attributed to Leuteritz Germany, second quarter 19th century We are pleased to offer an extraordinary opportunity to acquire on...
Category

Late 19th Century German Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Pate Sur Pate Vase of a Neoclassical Maiden Seated on Centaur
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
A 19th century Royal Cobalt Blue Meissen Pate Sur Pate vase of a Maiden seated on a Centaur. Beautifully decorated in cobalt blue, salmon pink, 24-karat brushed gilt decoration and t...
Category

1860s German Neoclassical Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Antique Meissen Groupings of Children Holding Cornucopia Vases Pair, circa 1860
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
A fine and quite unusual pair of large antique Meissen porcelain groupings, with each cornucopia carried by two Meissen children / cupids, all in different positions. Finely decorate...
Category

1860s German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain Three-Vase Garniture with Ormolu Mounts
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in London, GB
Meissen porcelain three-vase garniture with ormolu mounts Porcelain: German, c. 1770 Ormolu: French, 19th century Measures: Large vase: Height 31cm, width 19cm, depth 15cm Smalle...
Category

Late 18th Century French Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Bronze, Ormolu

Pair of 19th Century Meissen Porcelain Serpent Vases
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in London, GB
A large and decorative pair of Meissen porcelain vases, of ancient Roman krater form, with handles shaped as entwined serpents (Schlangenvasen). German, mid-19th century. Why we li...
Category

Mid-19th Century German Classical Roman Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of Antique 18th / 19th Century Meissen Porcelain Cachepots or Flower Pots
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Philadelphia, PA
A fine pair of antique Meissen cachepots. With baluster form bodies, shell handles, raised shell & cattail decoration to the sides, and handpainted floral sprays throughout. Da...
Category

Early 19th Century German Baroque Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Vase, White with Lower Decoration
By Meissen Porcelain, Rosenthal
Located in Copenhagen, DK
Meissen vase. White with lower decoration. Measures 13.4 cm / 5 9/32 in.    
Category

20th Century Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of Cobalt Blue Meissen Serpent Porcelain Vases, 19th Century, Germany
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Haddonfield, NJ
Pair of 19th century cobalt blue Meissen serpent vases in the Neo-Classical style. Boldly colored cobalt urns with white intertwined double scrolled serpent handles. Urns sits atop r...
Category

Late 19th Century German Neoclassical Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pear Shaped Meissen Vase with Cover and Vines with Flowers and Fruits
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
A beautiful early 19th century pear shaped Meissen covered vase with raised fruits, vines and flowers. The vase is finely hand painted with pink and white flowers. The rim and base o...
Category

1810s German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain Cookie Jar
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vilnius, LT
Meissen porcelain cookie jar with lid, hand painted flowers and gold decor.  
Category

Mid-20th Century German Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of Meissen Vases, c1890s
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Litchfield, CT
Circa 1890s, by Meissen, Germany. Perfect in any decor this pair of 19th century Meissen vases feature a timeless neoclassical form adorned with the firm's iconic Ivy motif. Excellen...
Category

1890s German Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of Antique Meissen Hand-Painted Porcelain Potpourri Urns or Vases
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Charleston, SC
Pair of exceptional quality 18th century Antique Meissen hand painted porcelain potpourri urns or vases with period bocage lids. Note the exceptional bocage work on the floral clu...
Category

Mid-18th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain Vase with Rose Design
By Meissen Porcelain, Rosenthal
Located in Copenhagen, DK
Meissen Porcelain vase with rose design. Measures 16,5cm high and 14cm wide and is in good condition.  
Category

20th Century Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Vase with Different Flower Bouquets on Either Side and Snake Handles
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Boston, MA
I want to offer you this wonderful cobalt Meissen vase with different lovely hand painted flower bouquets on either side with snake shaped handles. This Meissen vase is one of the Me...
Category

1890s German Neoclassical Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Antique Painted and Parcel Gilt Porcelain Vase by Meissen
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in London, GB
This beautiful vase was created by the world-famous Meissen porcelain factory. Meissen was established in the early 18th century, making it the first producer of hard-paste porcelain...
Category

19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of Meissen Vases with Snake Handles and Different Fruit Paintings
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Boston, MA
Pair of Meissen vases with snake handles and different still life paintings of fruit on all four sides. The paintings of fruit on these vases are so well done that the fruits look re...
Category

Late 19th Century German Neoclassical Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of Signed Meissen Lemon Yellow Hand-Painted Botanical Vases
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Great Barrington, MA
This lovely pair of signed Meissen vases are beautifully painted on both front and back with Dutch floral bouquets. The crisp white background with vibrant yellow, provides contrast ...
Category

Early 20th Century German Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Vase with Handles No 444/88
By Rosenthal, Meissen Porcelain
Located in Copenhagen, DK
Meissen vase with handles no 444/88. 23 cm tall (9 1/16"). 13 cm wide (5 1/8").  
Category

20th Century Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Early 20th Century Vase in White Porcelain by Meissen with Rose Decoration
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Sofia, BG
Tall fine vase in white porcelain with rose decoration by Meissen. Marked at the bottom. Great condition. Germany, circa 1920.
Category

Early 20th Century German Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Anfora Meissen Porcelain Material
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Anfora Meissen porcelain material the handles are with snake motif the body is rotatable and has painted floral motifs Origin Germany circa 1900.
Category

Early 1900s German Neoclassical Antique Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain Snakes Handle Vase, 1st Quality, Cobalt and Gold Painting
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Berlin, DE
Meissen porcelain snakes handle vase. 1st quality. Cobalt and gold painting. Small chip on the socket.
Category

20th Century German Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain Snakes Handle Vase, 1st Quality, Cobalt and Gold Painting
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Berlin, DE
Meissen Porcelain snakes handle vase. 1st quality. Cobalt and gold painting.  
Category

20th Century German Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

"Frolicking in the Waves," Art Deco Porcelain Vase with Nudes by Meissen
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Rare and lovely, this flaring porcelain vase designed by Rudi Stolle for the famed Meissen Porcelain works depicts a bas relief frieze of nude nymphs and tritons frolicking in the oc...
Category

1940s German Art Deco Vintage Meissen Porcelain Vases

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain vases for sale on 1stDibs

Meissen porcelain vases are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinct pieces of porcelain are frequently made of and are designed with extraordinary care. In our collection of Meissen porcelain vases there are many options to choose from, although beige editions of this piece are particularly popular. There are 32 vintage versions of these items in stock, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many original vases by Meissen Porcelain were created in Europe during the 20th century in the Rococo style. Many customers also consider vases by and n. Prices for Meissen Porcelain vases can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $206 and tops out at $101,062, while pieces like these can sell for $2,375 on average.
Questions About Meissen Porcelain Vases
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    A porcelain vase is a vessel made out of vitrified pottery. Porcelain is a semi-translucent white color and has a smooth, sleek texture. Traditionally, people use porcelain vases to hold fresh, dried and silk flower arrangements, but you can also display them empty as decorative accents. Find a range of antique and vintage porcelain vases on 1stDibs.
  • 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.

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