Above: Gallery at the Meissen porcelain factory museum

In an effort to compete with imported Chinese porcelain, Saxony’s Augustus the Strong founded Europe’s first fine porcelain factory in Meissen in 1710, and its name is synonymous with ceramic craftsmanship to this day. We toured its museum, which displays monumental sculptures such as “Temple of Honour,” the largest single porcelain work of the 18th century, and “Saxonia in Meissen Couture,” a female figure decorated with some 8,000 handmade porcelain blossoms. I was also taken with smaller works such as the subtly modeled animals sculpted by 18th-century master Johann Joachim Kändler, and Vladimir Kanevsky’s startlingly realistic foxglove flower arrangement.

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