A Very Rare Complete Set Of Meissen Marked Derby Continents

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Description

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A Very Rare Complete Set Of Meissen Marked Derby Continents

consisting of Europe, Asia, Africa and America, each modelled as a child

The Figure of Europe stands on a rococo moulded mound, inscribed EUROPA in gilding. She is draped in a voluminous flowered cloak of yellow and puce with a cornucopia of fruit in her right hand and a sceptre held high in her left, a gold crown, book and various mason's tools at her feet

The Figure of Asia stands on a similar mound, this one inscribed ASIEN. She stands on a bed of flowers, a camel wrapped behind her legs, holding a pastille burner in her right hand and wearing a flowered robe and cloth draped over one shoulder, a jewelled corset and a blue scarf in her hair

The figure of Africa stands on the same styled mound, this one inscribed AFRIKA. Wearing a purple flowered and turquoise dress held over one shoulder with a gold strip, she bears a tusked elephant's head-dress, grasps a scorpion in her right hand and a fruit-filled cornucopia in her left, whilst leaning one leg atop the back of a roaring lion that sits at her feet

The figure of America stands on an identical mound, this one inscribed AMERICAS. She wears a pale purple flowered loin cloth trimmed in gold and holds a crayfish in her left hand, a brown snake in her right, and has one foot resting on the neck of a caiman, a reptile resembling a crocodile, and whilst a quiver of arrows hangs at her left she wears a head-dress of colourful feathers

Each figure is 8 inches tall and is marked underneath with a Meissen crossed swords and incised 200

Dated to around 1815-1820

Added to the faux Meissen mark, it's interesting to note the fascinating way in which each continent is mis-spelled in an attempt to give the figures a very definite Germanic origin

A convention for depicting the Four Continents as female figures was used as early as the Counter-Reformation to symbolise the worldwide spread of Catholic Christendom. The figures were given wider appeal through their inclusion in the Iconologia of Cesare Ripa, an illustrated book of emblems widely used by artists from the early 17th century

The earliest porcelain figures were made for the dessert course of grand dinners and replaced the sugar paste and wax figures made since medieval times for royal feasts. Originally intended as expressions of dynastic power and to celebrate political allegiances, allegorical themes had been introduced into these table settings by the 16th century. By the 18th century many were entirely decorative

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