- Museum number
Beaker and saucer; hard-paste porcelain; beaker-shaped with out-turned rim; shallow saucer; decorated with scenes of tea-drinking and hunting and a beheading, all in Chinese style within elaborate cartouches in enamel colours and gold; stylised gilt pattern on inner and outer rim of beaker and rim of saucer; reverse of saucer with two flower sprays and two insects painted in red-brown; another similar spray inside cup; signed.
- Production date
- 1720-1725 (circa)
Diameter: 16.90 centimetres (saucer)
- Curator's comments
The sources for two of the three chinoiserie images on this Meissen beaker and saucer are ultimately found in engravings by Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708), but are probably directly based on lost drawings by Horoldt, similar to those in the Schulz-Codex. For the three figures on the saucer, one of whom has his head in a cangue, see the details in an engraving of a map of 'Oost Indien', 1668; both the map and saucer are published in Claudia Bodinek, 'Raffinesse im Akkord: Meissener Porzellanmalerei und Ihre Grafischen Vorlagen', Staatliche Kuntsammlungen Dresden, 2018, nos. 124 and 124a. A cangue device used for public humiliation and corporal punishment in China and elsewhere until the early years of the 20th century. A typical cangue would consist of a heavy flat board with a hole in the center large enough for a person's neck. The board consisted of two pieces. These pieces were closed around a prisoner's neck, and then fastened shut along the edges by locks or hinges. The opening in the center was large enough for the prisoner to breathe and eat, but not large enough for a head to slip through. The prisoner was confined in the cangue for a period of time as a punishment. The painter may have thought it was to assist with beheadings. One of the two scenes on the beaker-shaped cup depicts a native in a loin cloth with a monkey and a cockatoo on a pole. He is removing an arrow from a dead goat. It is apparently based on an anonymous engraving after details in de Hooghe's map, which is in the the Meissen Archives (see Bodinek 125 and 125a). The other side, also a chinoiserie, appears to be unrelated to any details in the map.
Although Lauche, about whom nothing has been discovered, worked in Dresden, he was not employed at the Meissen factory, despite the general similarity of these scenes to others found on factory-decorated Meissen. As Honey remarked (Honey 1934, p. 157) Lauche's work is 'more roughly painted in inferior colours' than Meissen decoration.
The painting on a teacaddy and cover sold at Christie's, 2 July 1984, lot 215, decorated with Chinese figures and bearing an unidentified coat-of-arms was compared with the British Museum cup and saucer, but was dated to around 1735.
- Not on display
- Gilding rubbed in places.
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number