Group of Japanese Figures
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Model by Johann Joachim Kändler, porcelain designer; Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, porcelain manufactory
German, Meissen, about 1745
Hard-paste porcelain, polychrome enamel decoration; gilt bronze mounts
1 ft. 5 3/4 in. x 11 5/8 in. x 8 9/16 in.

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An entry dated 20th November 1745 in the workbook of Johann Kändler, the Meissen porcelain manufactory's chief modeler, describes the model for this piece: "A large Japanese group, with a pagod [man] seated on a green bank, next to him a Japanese woman who holds a sunshade over his head, close to him a parrot, which he feeds." One of only two known examples, this brightly colored porcelain group is characteristic of the whimsical European view of Asia in the 1700s. The exoticism of the Far East fired the imaginations of European craftsmen, who mixed elements of Japanese and Chinese style to create a new type of decoration known as chinoiserie. Here "Japanese" figures wear robes decorated with fancifully drawn Indianische Blumen (East Indies flowers) and carry an ornate parasol decorated with a dragon.

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