Smashing porcelain for good luck

A visit to Leuchtenburg Castle

Have you ever deliberately smashed a plate? I’ve only done it accidentally, and then cursed myself for losing a piece of my lovely crockery. But when I visited Leuchtenburg Castle I did just that – I broke some porcelain on purpose! And along the way I saw and experienced even more curious things …

There’s a reason why Leuchtenburg Castle is also known as the queen of the Saale valley. Sitting in splendour on its lofty perch it looks down across the almost mediterranean river valley. And so do I, as I’m gazing down from the castle walls. But this isn’t even the best view I’ll be getting while I’m up here. 

The many facets of porcelain

Leuchtenburg Castle is home to a porcelain experience exhibition. In its seven ‘worlds’ I take a journey through time, and through the history of porcelain. As I travel to far-off countries I learn about the origins of the ‘white gold’. I even get to experiment in an alchemist’s workshop. There I try to find the right combination of ingredients to create porcelain. I’m not going to give too much away – no spoilers here! 

A juxtaposition of large and small  

However, I can reveal that the exhibition has two contrasting record breakers on display. A tall vase towers up in front of me. It wouldn’t have a hope of fitting on top of my coffee table, even though I’ve got pretty high ceilings. It’s eight metres tall, and currently the biggest vase in the world. 

ARURA, the largest vase in the world

ARURA, the largest vase in the world ©Stiftung Leuchtenburg

Then I glance at a glass cabinet on the wall. Ah, this one would be a better fit for me. On top of a transparent shelf stands a minuscule receptacle. It is the smallest porcelain pot ever made, measuring just 4 by 4 by 3 millimetres. Fun fact: it actually works. But how many times would I need to brew up before I had enough tea for my guests? 

Invisible wishes on an plate

The highlight of my visit comes at the end of the exhibition – in the archive of wishes. I enter a black room. Bit by bit, words form around me. Then they arrange themselves into wishes. Suddenly there is the sound of breaking porcelain and they disappear again. 

And here are the plates that will soon be taking a dive. I pick one up and write my wish on it with a pen. The ink fades in daylight, so my writing is invisible as I step outside onto the ‘skywalk of wishes’. This walkway extends 20 metres beyond the castle walls, suspended above the Saale valley. I haven’t exactly got a great head for heights. But the view from here sure beats the one I saw at the start of my visit by miles. I bravely make my way to the end and throw my plate, then I watch it sail to the ground and smash to pieces. What a thrill! 

The skywalk of wishes

The skywalk of wishes © Tobias Stepper, Stiftung Leuchtenburg

Unfortunately I completely forgot to think about my wish as I was doing it. Oops! I guess I’ll have to come back again. Apparently the castle’s Christmas market is simply enchanting. So that’s a date then! 



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