about 1731
Made by Meissen Manufactory (Germany), Modeled by Johann Gottlieb Kirchner (German, 1706–after 1737), With Johann Joachim Kändler (German, 1706–1775)

Object Place: Meissen, Germany


Overall (height): 69.9 cm (27 1/2 in.) Weight (estimated): 45 lb. (20.41 kg)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Hard-paste porcelain

On View

Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)





A white life-sized vulture, perched on gnarled tree stump, its wings folded back and incised with feather markings. Four claws per foot.


Incised mark: "N:08"


Between 1730 and 1736, commissioned by Augustus II (b. 1670 – d. 1733), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and his successor, Augustus III (b. 1696 – d. 1763), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, for the Japanese Palace in Dresden [see note 1]. November 28, 1977, anonymous sale ("property of a gentleman"), Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lot 197, to Edward M. Pflueger (b. 1905 - d. 1997) and Kiyi Powers Pflueger (b. 1915 - d. 2008), New York; 2001, bequest of Edward M. Pflueger and gift of Kiyi Powers Pflueger to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 23, 2001)

[1] Augustus II (“the Strong”) began building the Japanese Palace in Dresden in 1725 and commissioned more than 35,000 porcelain works from the nearby Meissen porcelain manufactory to furnish his "porcelain palace." The original collection featured more than 500 large bird and animal figures; among these were 37 animal species and 32 bird species. Augustus II died in 1733 and his son Augustus III took over the project. The Japanese Palace became a museum and library after the death of Augustus III, and parts of the collection were sold and traded in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Credit Line

Kiyi and Edward M. Pflueger Collection. Bequest of Edward M. Pflueger and Gift of Kiyi Powers Pflueger, Mary S. and Edward Jackson Holmes Fund, John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund, Frederick L. Jack Fund