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America Figure, ca. 1760

This is a Figure. It was produced by Meissen Porcelain Factory and modeled by Peter Reinicke. It is dated ca. 1760 and we acquired it in 1960. Its medium is porcelain, enameled and gilded decoration. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Following the incursions of Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci onto the continent, America began to feature in European allegorical representations of the known world. “She” was most often portrayed as a semi-nude indigenous woman adorned with feathers and accompanied by birds, crocodiles, and other exotic animals. This representation promoted the perception of the New World as lush, exotic, and docile—suited to conquest. Despite her elaborate feathered cape, skirt, and headdress, Meissen’s depiction of America—made by its most celebrated modeler—is still bare-breasted. While most Europeans would not have actually journeyed to the Americas, expedition chronicles helped to cement these tropes, which appeared frequently in works of art and design made in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries.

It is credited Gift of the Estate of James Hazen Hyde.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 26.9 x 30.2 x 16.7 cm (10 9/16 x 11 7/8 x 6 9/16 in.)

It has the following markings

Underglaze mark: crossed swords

Cite this object as

America Figure, ca. 1760; Modeled by Peter Reinicke (German, 1715–1768); Germany; porcelain, enameled and gilded decoration; H x W x D: 26.9 x 30.2 x 16.7 cm (10 9/16 x 11 7/8 x 6 9/16 in.); Gift of the Estate of James Hazen Hyde; 1960-1-28-d

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Rebeca Méndez Selects.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=America Figure, ca. 1760 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=16 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>