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German Porcelain Chess Set by Aelteste Volkstedter Porzellanmanufaktur, ca. 1920

A German porcelain chess set made by Aelteste Volkstedter Porzellanmanufaktur in Rudolstadt/Volkstedt. The design is from the 1920's. One side with a dark orange glaze, the other white, all with gilt highlights. The pieces are inspired by Asian motifs. The kings as rulers wearing a crown and holding a sceptre, the queens with oriental dress sitting on a raised base in lotus position, the bishops as bearded Asian counsellors holding curved scimitars, the knights as rearing horses on a raised base, the rooks as elephants carrying a pagoda with a mahout inside, the pawns in sitting position with chinese hats. King size is 10 cm.

The Aelteste Volkstedter Porzellanmanufaktur can be traced back to Georg Heinrich Macheleid, who experimented for years in the Glücksthal glassworks trying to find the right mixture for porcelain. He succeeded in 1760 and 8 September of the same year established a porcelain manufactory in Sitzendorf. Two years later, in 1762, the manufactory was moved to Volkstedt near the princely court of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. Its ownership changed several times over the years, but the manufactory is still in business, thus being the oldest porcelain manufactory in Thuringia still operated (which is already indicated by its name, as "Aelteste Volkstedter Porzellanmanufaktur" translates to "oldes porcelain manufactory in Volkstedt").

In the early 1920's, in particular in 1923 and 1924, the manufactory produced some designs by Bauhaus ceramists Theodor Bogler and Otto Lindig. It is approximately this period to which the design of the set can be traced back.

Description and photos by Holger Langer

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