Sample Book of Asian-inspired Porcelain Patterns from the Staatliche Porzellan Manufaktur Meißen

Printer Offizin Drugulin
Publisher Meissen Manufactory German

Not on view

This album is an extremely rare example of the demonstration catalogues produced by the Meissen manufactory for their most exclusive customers. According to the Meissen archive, three distinct books were produced around 1920: one containing underglaze patterns; one containing floral patterns; and the present "Indische Muster", which contains an array of designs inspired by historic decorations from different countries in Asia including Japan, China, and India. Each design is executed in line etching only, and then finished by hand with watercolor and gilding by the porcelain painters employed by the Meissen manufactory. The colors vary from monochrome schemes to bright multicolored palettes. The name "Staatliche Porzellan Manufaktur Meissen" is etched in calligraphic script above each pattern, and below the design, the name of the pattern is identified together with a numbered list of the color schemes in which the pattern was available with further details about the colors used within each scheme. Many of the patterns date back to the founding of the Meissen firm in the early 18th century. For example, one of the most expressive patterns in the album, the so-called "Ming Dragon motif" (pattern numbers 78 and 80), was developed as early as 1740. Another pattern, inspired by Japanese Kakiemon porcelain, is found on a plate in the Museum's collection from about 1730 that originally belonged to Augustus II (1670–1733), elector of Saxony and king of Poland, who was an avid collector of East Asian porcelain. The production of the album in the 1920s demonstrates the popularity and longevity of many of these patterns. Its careful production in hand-colored etchings printed on folio-sized high-quality paper further speaks to a tradition of creating bespoke print series and catalogues that similarly finds its roots in eighteenth century. More specifically, the 1919 annual report of the Meissen firm indicates that the idea to produce these catalogues was directly inspired by the devastations of World War I. In an effort of restoration, the firm advocated for a return to the cultural values and high-quality handwork of the past.

Sample Book of Asian-inspired Porcelain Patterns from the Staatliche Porzellan Manufaktur Meißen, Offizin Drugulin (Leipzig, 1866-present), Etched title page and 41 hand-colored etched plates, some heightened with gold

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.