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"Museums - Porcelain Collection" Zwinger Tip by nicolaitan

Zwinger, Dresden: 98 reviews and 252 photos

August the Strong was larger than life in all his activities and passions by all counts. His love of fine porcelain was fanatical -- he called it his "Porcelain Madness". He amassed a huge collection of Japanese and Chinese porcelain figures, vases, and decorated pieces for his reconstruction of the large building known even today as the Japanese Palace. At one point, he traded 600 of his soldiers for 150 Chinese vases, in the end amassing the largest collection in Europe but also nearing bankruptcy.

His solution was the imprisonment of a failed alchemist named Johann Bottger who failed to create gold but is credited with developing the first European production of white porcelain (although he probably stole the idea from an older colleague on his deathbed). By 1710, porcelain was being produced commercially in Meissen. By 1720, a technique had been developed to paint the porcelain with enamel and thousands of pieces were added to the Japanese Palace collection. These ranged from dining services to full-size reproductions of animals considered exotic in Europe. Kept secure during WWII thankfully, today over 20000 porcelain figures and decorative items are kept by this museum with a permanent display of over 2000 in the porcelain museum wing housed next to the Glockenspiel, including several of the famed Dragoon vases.

This is truly a must-see museum in the Zwinger - largely Eastern on the ground level and Meissen on the first floor - each piece is masterful. A ban on photography is strictly enforced, but different monitors are in each of the many rooms so some images can be exposed - expect to get no more than one in each room. The truly magnificent pieces could not be imaged very sadly but pictures could not do them justice anyway. And the rooms of the museum are themselves worthy of note - regal, with marble columns and arches - from the original 1735 plans of Zacharias Longuelune originally intended for the Japanese Palace.

Address: Theaterplatz, 01067 Dresden
Phone: 0351 - 438370312

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 22, 2007
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