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The ceramics and glassware on display in this exhibition are all connected with hunting – not because they were used in the chase or for processing the game, but through their visual representation of hunting themes. They are all artistic masterpieces, luxury items for people who engaged in hunting as a social event.

A common tradition at the end of the hunt was to arrange the bagged game for inspection in a kind of ceremony. This exhibition, focusing as it does on tableware, alludes to the resonance between the tradition of laying out game after the hunt and laying the table. (In Hungarian, the same word – teríték – is used for both.)

The Goddess of Hunting in classical Mythology
In Greek myths, Artemis was the goddess of hunting and the Moon; she was also venerated, under the name Diana, by the ancient Romans.

Her figure is often represented as a young lady with hunting weapons, and can be identified as the goddess with greatest certainty if she is wearing a moon-shaped jewel on her forehead. On a magnificent faience bowl, we see the story of Diana and Actaeon from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Delft vases with hunting scenes

Far Eastern porcelain was for a long time the preserve of the privileged, so that there was a healthy demand for splendid faience pieces made by European potters. Dutch masters were directly inspired by porcelain imported on the ships of the East Indian Company, and the blue glaze of Delft faience workshops became famous through the imitation of Chinese designs.

Hunting scene as table centre
Today, we think of porcelain figures as objects to be displayed in glass cases. Originally, however, they were made to decorate finely-laid tables. The European porcelain factories designed series of such small sculptures representing the hunt.

Luxury porcelain with hunting scenes
Hunting was also a tableware theme. Outstanding examples of this from our collection are a breakfast service by the Vienna Porcelain Works and an item of a table service with representations of exotic animals, made for Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI.

Bucolic tableau, historicising hunting scenes
The hunting scenes in the historicist tableaux of the late 19th century are designed to convey an imagined past. Zsolnay pieces decorated by Ármin Klein and Kelemen Kaldeway evoke the 17th century. Objects in the Zsolnay series Old Ivory imitate medieval ivory carvings.

Feminine refinement
Snuffboxes of various materials were very popular in the 18th century, some made of porcelain. On the inside of the lid of the square ormolu-mounted snuffbox, the artist has added the figure of a beau to Watteau’s engraving Retour de chasse.

Hunting scenes also frequently feature in the finely engraved decoration of Baroque glassware, particularly drinking services – wine glasses and flasks. The distinguished, visually arresting flask and glasses with scenes of deer, bear and hare hunting were made with the zwischengoldglas technique.

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