Though the Meissen manufactory has a long history of animal figures, this group from the young sculptor Maximilian Hagstotz marks the first time the Big Five has been realized in a unified style of a single series. Hagstotz found inspiration in the wooden statues of Africa to create angular, almost carved-looking designs that are free from a purely naturalist representation, with a unique expressiveness that captures the strength of the five different animals. The elaborately painted decorations of the series demonstrate both an artistic engagement with the theme of Africa’s Big Five and a dedication to consummate craftsmanship. Inspired by traditional patterns and replete with symbolic power, the decorations stand out in contrast against the white of the porcelain. The restrained application of these patterns and the filigree lines accentuate the unique traits of each animal.
“The collection is the first series in Meissen’s 300-year history of animal figures to bring together the Big Five within a single, unified style.”