Field of Focus III - Funded projectsFormative Decades:

17th and 18th C. Chinese Narrative Porcelains Collected and Re-manufactured by August the Strong, Dresden-Meissen

Projecet leader:

Prof. Dr. Sarah E. Fraser (Institute of East Asian Art History)

Funding line:

Cultural Heritage and History

Augustus der Stark’s porcelain collection was amassed during 1715-1730. The majority of these objects were produced by Chinese civilian kilns after the reopening of Jingdezhen kilns in 1683 when thousands of porcelain works were decorated in distinctly new styles.

This project will be divided in 2 sections. Section A will be a systematic overview of the iconographic themes in August's collection (approx. 24,000 pieces, we will concentrate on 1100 key items, and––during the period of this grant––we will focus on 235 items that bear directly on our research themes) examining the circulation and interaction of iconography across media in 17th c. Jingdezhen. Section B will be an investigation of the impact of Chinese iconography upon European Chinoiserie (especially “German” courts) and motifs deployed in Meissen porcelain. One of the project goals is to put the history of European Chinoserie in a larger, transcultural frame by linking it to the history of porcelain trade to the Ming dynasty (1400-1450) when Chinese naval and diplomatic expeditions brought ceramics within Europe's reach for the first time. This project focuses on the transition from Augustus’ collecting Chinese wares to establishing Meissen porcelain production articulated with Chinese inspired motifs (with elements included from pan-Asian sources) viewed in a broader context of European Chinoiserie and its Timurid Chinoiserie roots.

This project is based on a formal cooperation agreement between the Department of Porcelain, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD), and the Institute of East Asian Art History, Heidelberg University, signed by the University Chancellor, Dr. Angelika Kalous on August 6, 2014.