Cup and saucer

ARTIST / MAKER: Meissen porcelain factory (maker)
DATE: ca.1730 (made)
PLACE: Germany (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Hard-paste porcelain decorated in enamels and gilt

This cup and saucer produced by Meissen, the first manufactory in Europe to produce porcelain, is decorated in the popular Japanese Kakiemon style. The Kakiemon kiln, in the Japanese town of Arita on the southern island of Kyushu, was founded in around 1670 and specialised in the production of wares that were typically decorated with a yellow, red, blue, and turquoise palette set against a milky-white ground. After the fall of the Chinese Ming dynasty in 1644, Dutch traders began to import Kakiemon porcelain to Europe where it became extremely sought after and eventually led to the imitation of Kakiemon patterns onto white porcelain produced in Europe.

The red phoenix decoration is copied from Japanese prototypes while the floral spray, inspired by the flattened style of Eastern designs, became known as Indianische Blumen, or Eastern flowers decoration. It is thought that pieces in this style were part of the order placed by Rodolphe Lemaire, a Parisian dealer who sought to sell Meissen Kakiemon as Japanese originals to buyers in France.