A group of figurines
made in porcelain
by the Meissen
fine china works in Germany
, consisting of a Baroque orchestra
(sometimes a Classical orchestra
) dressed in 18th century livery
) consisting entirely of ...you guessed it, monkeys
! Supposedly occasioned by a remark by a local composer after a really hairy rehearsal, it's worth noting that during the Rococo era
, representations of monkeys in the refined garb of the time doing "civilized" things were all the rage -- even without our modern apprehension of our common kinship, the implied message seemed to be "Are we all that different?" Each monkey carries an authentic musical instrument
of the time, and in larger sets a few female singers are included also. The range of expression ranges from the purely simian
to the sarcastically human, the unheard musicianship ranging from stolid workmanlike plodding to wild anarchy, with the conductor
, typically depicted in an explosive rage, trying to keep order.
Monkey bands have been made (with a few decades off for Soviet control of the works) almost continuously since the mid- 1700's, and are worth collecting even now, for their incredible detail and beautiful glazing. At $150 per 8" monkey, they outclass "Precious Moments" all hollow.