Meissen Ware

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Meissen Ware


articles made in the first European porcelain factory, which was founded in 1710 in the city of Meissen (in the district of Dresden in Saxony in the German Democratic Republic [GDR]). The method of producing porcelain was discovered circa 1709 in Meissen by J. F. Bottger and his assistant, E. W. von Tschirnhaus. The articles of the first, or Bottgerian, period (1710–19) are severely shaped vessels made from fusible rock and porcelain. Meissen ware made between 1720 and 1735 (the painting period) is characterized by polychrome overglaze and cobalt underglaze painting that reflect the influence of Chinese porcelain (for example, Meissen ware by J. G. Höroldt).

The height of development of Meissen ware is represented by the work of the sculptors and modelers J. J. Kandler, J. G. Kirchner, and J. F. Eberlein. The articles produced between 1735 and 1763 (the sculptural period) were done mostly in the rococo style and include china, vases, toilet and desk sets, snuffboxes, sculptural groups (pastorals, genre and court scenes, and figures from the commedia dell’arte), and animal figurines. The Meissen ware of this period is noted for the keen understanding of the specifics of porcelain modeling and by the refinement of the painting.

In the 1770’s elements of academicism appeared in Meissen ware, as it acquired a classicist character. During the 19th century the Meissen factory primarily reproduced old patterns. In the GDR today, the old models are used and contemporary forms are developed. The porcelain is exported to more than 70 countries. Since 1725 the factory’s trademark has been the blue swords of the underglaze decoration.


Berling, K. Festschrift zur 200-jährigen Jubelfeier der ältesten europäischen Porzellanmanufactur: Meissen (1710–1910). Leipzig, 1911. 250 Jahre der Meissner Porzellan-Manufactur. Meissen, 1960. Rückert, R. Meissner Porzellan: 1710–1810. Munich, 1966.
Walcha, R. Meissner Porzellan. Leipzig, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Local architect Bruce Kuwabara designed the expansion, opened in 2006, of this extensive collection of more than 3,000 historical and contemporary ceramics (from pre-Colombian Mayan sun gods to Ming and Meissen ware).