Red Dragon Pattern :
This design, painted in over-glaze iron-red with the addition of gilding, appears to be Japanese in origin. But according to Dr.Oliver Impey, it is the other way around, that is to say the Japanese potters based their design on the Meissen `Red Dragon` pattern. What proof Dr.Impey had appears to be thin, from my understanding it was more that the dragons didn`t look Japanese enough, and so therefore must be based on Meissen interpretation of the Japanese (see : Japanese Export Porcelain, Catalogue of the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Oliver Impey, Hotei Publishing, Amsterdam, 2002, page 234, item 410). The Meissen `Red Dragon` service was originally an order for the Saxon Court of Augustus the Strong, Augustus II (1670-1733) King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. It was delivered to the court between 1731 and 1734 and was added to during the 18th and 19th century. It occurs on Meissen price lists from 1731 and has been popular ever since.
Hō-ō Bird / Ho-Ho Bird :
The Japanese Ho-o bird is type of auspicious phoenix and is similar to the Chinese Fenghuang. the Hō-ō appears only in peaceful and prosperous times (nesting, it is said, in paulownia trees), and hides itself when there is trouble. As the herald of a new age, the Hō-ō descends from heaven to earth to do good deeds, and then it returns to its celestial abode to await a new era. It is both a symbol of peace (when the bird appears) and a symbol of disharmony (when the bird disappears). The Ho-o Bird appears frequently in Japanese porcelain of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, especially in Kakiemon wares. Ho-Ho is often used when referring to English porcelain versions of these Kakiemon designs.
Meissen Porcelain :
Meissen porcelain was the first hard-paste porcelain, or true porcelain to be developed in Europe. Development of this new hard-paste porcelain by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus started in 1707. When Tschirnhaus suddenly died, the recipe apparently was handed over to Böttger, who within one week announced to the Elector that he could make porcelain. Böttger refined the formula and with some Dutch co-workers, experienced in firing and painting tiles, the stage was set for the manufacturing of porcelain. In 1709, the Elector established the first Meissen porcelain factory, placed Böttger`s laboratory at Albrechtsburg castle in Meissen and production started officially in 1710. In 1720 Johann Gregorius Höroldt became the director and introduced brilliant colours which made Meissen porcelain famous. The next sculptor, Johann Jakob Kirchner, was the first to make large-scale statues and figurines, especially of Baroque saints. His assistant was Johann Joachim Kaendler; in 1733 Kirchner resigned, and Kaendler took over as chief “modelmaster”. He became the most famous of the Meissen sculptors. Under his direction Meissen produced the series of small figurines, often depicting scenes of gallantry, which brought out the best of the new material. His menagerie of large-scale animals, left in the white, are some of the high points of European porcelain manufacture. His work resulted in the production of exquisite figurines in the rococo style that influenced porcelain making in all of Europe. Supported by assistants like Johann Friedrich Eberlein and Peter Reinecke, he worked until his death in 1775. In 1756, during the Seven Years` War, Prussian troops occupied Meissen, giving Frederick II of Prussia the opportunity to relocate some of the artisans to establish the Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur Berlin. With the changing tastes of the neoclassical period and the rise of Sèvres porcelain in the 1760s, Meissen had to readjust its production, and in the reorganization from 1763, C.W.E. Dietrich of the Dresden Academy became artistic director and Michel-Victor Acier from France became the modelmaster. The practice of impressing numerals that correspond to moulds in the inventory books began in 1763. Sèvres styles and ventures into Neoclassicism, such as matte bisque wares that had the effect of white marble, marked the factory`s output under Count Camillo Marcolini, from 1774.