In the porcelain production process, a plaster mould was created from a large model, usually made from clay, but with the large porcelain animals this led to problems. The model had to be made bigger than the size intended for the finished figure as, once fired, the porcelain would shrink by up to a sixth of its original size.
Once the plaster mould had been created, a special porcelain paste would be pressed into each of two separate halves. The porcelain paste was then removed from the mould and joined together to create a complete figure. Once the figures had been assembled and given their finishing touches, they were left out in the air to dry out completely and then given a low firing and glazed. The large animal figures were too big to be dipped into glaze so they were basted.
Additional problems sometimes occurred when the glaze was fired, causing discolouration and cracking. The large animals also had to be hollow, as solid ones would not have survived the firing. In order to make the figures stable, experiments were carried out using various designs and support constructs. The whole production process could take weeks to complete.
Above: Meissen Lion, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wrightsman Fund (1988.294.1) Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The lion exhibits a bluish colour which was probably due to the technical difficulties in the production process.