Pair of Meissen porcelain nodding pagoda figures

By Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (German, founded 1710)


These wonderful pagoda figures take the form of a Chinese couple with nodding heads and moving tongues and hands, intended to surprise and delight all who see them.


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These kind of figures, known as ‘pagoda’, ‘pagodes’ or ‘magots’, first began to be acquired by amateur collectors in Europe in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The European models are called ‘pagoda’ (or ‘pagode’) figures because they were based on sculptures found in pagoda temples in South and East Asia, which represented the deities worshipped there. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, these figures were created by Asia for export to Europe, where they became instantly fashionable.

In the early 18th Century, ‘pagoda’ figures began to be made by the Meissen factory in Germany. The undersides of these models are marked with blue crossed swords, indicating that they are Meissen ‘pagodes’. Founded in 1709, Meissen was the first manufacturer of true porcelain in Europe. The factory received royal backing by King Augustus II The Strong, and enjoyed the patronage of the European nobility and social elite.

These porcelain ‘pagodes’ take the form of a broadly-grinning Chinese man and woman, who sit cross-legged, sporting large bellies and ears. They wear pointed and heeled shoes and loosely draped robes, decorated with colourful flowers, as well as parcel gilt shirts with frilled collars. The figures' heads nod, and their hands and tongues move, to delight and captivate viewers.


Artist / Maker
By Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (German, founded 1710)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
19th Century
Chinese Interest, Figurative Art, Meissen, Orientalist


19 cm / 7.5 inches
19 cm / 7.5 inches
19 cm / 7.5 inches


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