Bronze incense ding burner

Height including stand and cover: 13 inches, 33 cm
Width: 11 inches, 28 cm

Bronze incense ding burner

China, the bronze: Warring States period, late 4th - early 3rd century BC, the stand and cover: China 18-19th century

A bronze incense burner of ding form, supported on three cabriole legs, each issuing from a carefully modelled taotie mask. The rounded body is completely plain, save for a single raised band around the sides. The concave rim is set with two squared loop handles. The bronze has acquired an attractive patina with malachite and lapis lazuli highlights. The stand, made from hardwood, is in turn supported on three feet, and carved as a lotus leaf with elaborate veining. The cover is also carved from hardwood and has a very similar pattern of veining. The cover is crowned by an openwork soapstone finial of globular shape, carved with a dragon pursuing a flaming pearl.

The fact that this superb bronze ding, which dates from the very last stage of the Eastern Zhou period, China’s Bronze Age, was equipped in the late 18th or early 19th century with a beautifully carved stand and lid in hardwood, shows that there was a definite appreciation for early bronzes at that time.

Provenance: Private collection, Hong Kong