Large scale imports of Chinese and Japanese hard paste porcelain by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century catalyzed a race among European collectors and investors to discover the secret of making the delicate, translucent white porcelain. Augustus II, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony eventually assembled the right team: Johann Friedrich Böttger, an alchemist who had failed in his promise to make gold from dross and the Electoral Mathematician and Physicist Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. Kept under house arrest, Böttger eventually discovered that the addition of kaolin to clay produced the desired material. In 1710, Augustus established the royal porcelain works in the town of Meissen, not far from his capital of Dresden. The crossed swords maker’s mark was adopted in 1720, and has been used with variations ever since. It signified the highest quality European porcelain and became so important artistically, socially, economically and diplomatically that Louis XV established the Sevres porcelain works soon thereafter to compete. Sculptors, like Joachim Johann Kaendler, drew inspiration for Meissen figurines from the commedia dell’arte, mythology, royal menageries and exotic lands such as the fabled Malabar coast of India, as in the case of our 19th century “Malabar Musicians.” Condition: Excellent, No losses. Dimensions. Bases 2.10" x 2.10". H: 7.20"