Height: 8 1/2 inches, 21.8 cm
Width: 12 inches, 30.5 cm


Bronze incense burner

China, Ming or Qing dynasty, 16th - 17th century

A large bronze incense burner, heavily cast with rounded sides supported on three short, tapered feet, rising to a short waisted neck with flaring mouth. The rim is surmounted by a pair of upright handles. The base is cast with a six-character Xuande mark within a recessed rectangular panel. The exterior surface has a rich, dark-brown patina.

The present incense burner is exceptional for its very large size. It may have been commissioned by the court or a high ranking official, who could afford something so substantial. Incense burners of this type started to be produced in the 15th century and production continued well into the 19th century, often making them difficult to date accurately.[1] However, the quality of the mark, as well as the very rich patina on the present incense burner suggest an early date. A bronze censer of comparable large size, attributed to the late Ming dynasty, is in the collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. [2]

Formerly in an old Dutch family collection

  1. Kerr, R., Later Chinese Bronzes, London, 1990, pl. 14, pp 18-19
  2. Mak, H. and Chan, A., #popcolours: The Aesthetics of Hues in Antiquities from the HKMoA Collection, Arts of Asia, Spring 2022, fig. 21