Cup and saucer, Meissen
The perfection of porcelain in China, where it dates back to the 3rd century, was not achieved in Europe until the 17th century. France and Germany rose to fame with Sèvres and Meissen respectively. They developed 'hard' porcelain with kaolin around 1709.
This cup and saucer for hot chocolate were made by the Meissen manufactory in Saxony, as shown by the two crossed blue swords painted on their undersides.
Inspired by the Japanese Kakiemon style, flowers and birds were typical of the so-called chinoiserie produced by Meissen in the 18th century. In the example seen here, the blue illustrations under the glaze have been repainted with gold, though the original paintings are still visible. Abraham Seutter (1685-1747), who was based in Augsburg and worked under commission for Meissen between 1725 and 1747, probably made this splendid set. Around 1730 he painted identical decorations on a coffee pot from the same coffee service.