Pounce Pot (Germany), mid- 18th century
This is a Pounce pot. It was manufactured by Meissen Porcelain Factory. It is dated mid- 18th century and we acquired it in 1992. Its medium is molded porcelain, overglaze enamel. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.
Letter writing was considered a genteel pursuit in the eighteenth century. Writing sets and related accoutrements became a material reflection of one’s literacy and social status. Any fashionable desk or dressing table would be host to a complex array of equipment, including paper, quills, ink, sealing wax and a pounce pot. Pounce pots contained a powdered substance, usually gum sandarac, which was sprinkled on paper to prevent ink from bleeding across the page while writing. The growing consumer market for stationary supplies was fueled by a global trade of raw materials. Gum sandarac, often shortened to ‘sand’, was exported from Morocco; writing ink required oak galls from Syria and gum Arabic from Sudan.
Meissen produced several different barrel-shaped pounce pots. The low relief pattern of flowering branches seen on this version was typical of molded decoration popular in the mid-eighteenth century. The sculptural floral handle, and painted fauna gratified contemporary interest in the natural world.
It is credited
Gift of Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman.
Its dimensions are
H x W: 7.3 x 8.5 cm (2 7/8 x 3 3/8 in.)
It has the following markings
On underside, blue underglaze: cross swords
Cite this object as
Pounce Pot (Germany), mid- 18th century; Manufactured by Meissen Porcelain Factory (Germany); molded porcelain, overglaze enamel; H x W: 7.3 x 8.5 cm (2 7/8 x 3 3/8 in.); Gift of Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman; 1992-5-8