Height: 6 1/4 inches, 16 cm
Width: 2 3/4 inches, 7.2 cm

Wood incense stick holder

China, 17th - 18th century

An incense stick holder in the form of a gnarled tree trunk. The exterior is carved with deep grooves, partly in openwork, imitating the natural consistency of tree bark. The rimmed top is flat, apart from a circular aperture to one side, with a collar rim, made especially for holding incense sticks. The material has a chocolate brown patina and is covered in a layer of clear lacquer coating.

A very similar wood incense stick holder in the form of a section of tree stump, said to be of “unknown” wood, was included in an exhibition at the Altfield Gallery in Hong Kong in 1984.1

  1. Rice Jones, R and Forsyth, A.: Wood from the Scholar’s Table, Chinese Hardwood Carvings and Scholar’s Articles, Altfield Gallery, Hong Kong 1984, plate 85, pp. 136-7