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Allegorical Figure of "America" Figure

This is a figure. It was attributed to Johann Joachim Kändler and Peter Reinicke and produced by Meissen Porcelain Factory and manufactured by Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. It is dated ca. 1760 and we acquired it in 1960. Its medium is hard paste porcelain, vitreous enamel, gold. 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.

This object was donated by Estate of James Hazen Hyde. 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

Underside (unglazed): [1] double crossed swords (?), painted (very faint, Meissen Porcelain Manufactory mark) [2] "776", written in pencil [3] a number (?), written on label (very faded)

It is signed


It is inscribed


Cite this object as

Allegorical Figure of "America" Figure; Attributed to Johann Joachim Kändler (German, 1706–1775), Peter Reinicke (German, 1715–1768); Produced by Meissen Porcelain Factory (Germany); Manufactured by Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (Germany); Germany; hard paste porcelain, vitreous enamel, gold; 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.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Allegorical Figure of "America" Figure |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 April 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>