Monkeys and lions, an eagle and a peacock, even a “Bolognese lapdog” are assembled here: the hall of Meissen porcelain animals is a special attraction within the Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection). The Dresden collection is the most exquisite, and also the largest, specialist ceramics collection in the world, not least on account of the outstanding holdings of early Meissen porcelain as well as oriental porcelain dating from the 17th and early 18th centuries. Augustus the Strong (1670-1733) was passionate about porcelain. It is to his "maladie de porcelaine", as he himself called his obsession with the "white gold", that Dresden owes its unique collection. The most beautiful items from among the 20,000 objects that have been preserved are now on display in the delightful rooms inside the Zwinger, against the constant Baroque backdrop of the Zwinger courtyard. The spectrum of porcelain wares on show extends from specimens dating from the Ming Dynasty in China and abundant holdings from the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662–1722) to Japanese Imari and Kakiemon wares from the early 17th and the 18th century. The development of Meissen porcelain from its invention in the year 1708 until the late 18th century is also illustrated by works of supreme craftsmanship. Over the past few years, the internationally renowned New York architect Peter Marino has drawn up designs for the interior decoration of the two Bogengalerien (Curved Galleries) and the Tiersaal (Animal Hall). In the Langgalerie (Long Gallery), for example, there is an opulent wall arrangement with turquoise porcelain in front of a purple violet wall. This ensemble was planned in a larger form for the Porcelain Palace – the Japanische Palais (Japanese Palace). The Animal Hall features leather wall coverings after the fashion of the early 18th century. And in the middle of the hall are two Chinese-style baldachins with a five-metre high pavilion in Chinese design topped by a pagoda roof and featuring porcelain bells. On gilt wall consoles there are porcelain birds designed by the Meissen modeller Kaendler – also in the 18th century. The Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection) is part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) that are among the most prominent museums in the world. The combined holdings of the twelve museums offer the visitor a remarkable thematic diversity. These museums originated from the collections of the Saxon electors and Polish kings. They systematically developed cabinets of curiosities, which were accessible to select circles in their day and still form the core of the wonderful art treasures of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden today. The collections are situated in world famous buildings such as the Residenzschloss (Royal Palace), the Zwinger, and the Semperbau (Semper Building), which are among the most important sights in Dresden.