Cherubs on a Shell Bowl Blue Crossed Swords Mark

This example is a fake often described as 'Meissen' because of its copycat maker's mark. The item of course is not Meissen. It is just one of many examples of contemporary pottery and porcelain pieces currently being sold by suppliers of fake antiques and modern misleading reproductions. Pieces such as this will be advertised by them as 'Meissen Style.' Later, after its first buyer has carefully removed the paper label that identifies its true country of origin, the misleading crossed swords mark will be all that remains. And though that first buyer knows full well the item is not old and that it was not made by Meissen, they will offer it for sale to the next buyer as though it were.

Because blue swords 'like' Meissen's have for centuries been incorporated in modified form into some maker's marks, and outright blatantly forged by others, it is very important to know the characteristics of true Meissen marks. Meissen factory marks are painted by hand (never ink stamped or applied with a transfer) in cobalt blue, under the glaze. Because their mark is always hand applied by different people over time and due to the influence of other factors, such as area of application, the mark can and should exhibit some slight variations.

Look closely at the mark you see on this piece. The first thing that becomes obvious about it is that it was not applied by hand-painting. This piece was clearly made by the same manufacturer who produced Item ID: 2007RP00064, also listed in this shop. Compare the marks on the two pieces side by side to see they are identical. Where the swords cross one another, in particular, gives the best visual clue to their having been mechanically applied.

Meissen also uses a proprietary porcelain formula that produces a very hard, very white body. The plasticity of their clay and its tolerance for being worked allows for a high degree of translucency in finished objects. The kaolin clay used by the Meissen factory is mined close by, locally, and the clay they use has no iron impurities at all, making it exceptionally white.

Knowing this, and using the image in this listing which shows a closeup of the underneath side of the base, observe the burnt orange color on the foot and impurities that are quite visible elsewhere. A porcelain body that shows these characteristics cannot have been made of Meissen's kaolin clay. Visual clues can help to identify an item that was not made by Meissen. Just turn it over and look at other aspects you can observe on the piece underneath other than the crossed swords mark.

Also look for exceptional quality in decorations or gilding. Meissen employed only the best artists and every decorative device, down to the smallest of details on a flower petal or the picking out of a figure's strands of hair with enamels, was done by hand. Lack of realism, figure details like fingers that have little definition, heavy use of transfer designs as opposed to hand painted details and floral decorations that seem perfunctory or done with a cookie cutter approach to shape and coloration - these clues help to denote the newer fakes most of all. Heaviness in clay bodies can be observed in the thick rim of a bowl or in areas on an item where one could rightly expect it to be translucent. An item with an overall heavy look or feel to it and lacking translucence, like the item shown in this listing, is not made of a high quality porcelain. And if not made of high quality porcelain, it cannot be Meissen.

Measures 11 1/2 inches long by 8 inches tall by 7 inches deep.

Item ID: 2007RP000241

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies


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