Tea bowl

ARTIST / MAKER: Martin Schnell (painter)
Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: ca. 1710-1713 (made)
PLACE: Germany (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Stoneware with manganese glaze and gilt

This tea bowl is made from red stoneware which has been glazed and gilt to imitate Asian lacquer. Red stoneware was first produced in the workshop of Johann Friedrich Böttger after he, and German physicist E.W Von Tschirnhaus, discovered an iron-rich clay in Saxony. This clay produced wares that were similar in appearance to the stonewares made in Yixing in China which were highly prized in Europe at this time. The newly-established Meissen manufactory in Dresden, where this tea bowl was made, produced large quantities of red stoneware from 1708, and continuously experimented with technical processes to produce beautiful objects that appealed to European taste. The black glaze on the bowl was applied in the workshop of Martin Schnell, the court lacquerer to Augustus the Strong. Schnell was employed by the Meissen manufactory to decorate red stoneware in imitation of Japanese lacquer and developed a technique of coating the stoneware with a black manganese glaze to produce this effect. The tea bowl is painted with various flowers and on the inside are two gilt dragonflies.
This tea bowl would have originally been part of a much larger set and was previously in the collection of the Margraves of Baden-Baden. A similar example exists in the Arnhold collection of Meissen porcelain.