Hirado ware incense burner
Edo period, mid-late 19th century AD
This piece was made at the famous Hirado kiln which from around 1800 onwards produced often highly ostentatious pieces decorated in underglaze blue which were very fashionable in Europe and North America.
The objects were often quite impractical in use and designed purely for presentation. This incense-burner has three chambers, but only the top one can be used for burning incense. It is decorated with free-hanging porcelain bells. The openwork modelling is technically very skillful.
The burner is inscribed 'Dai Nippon Hirado san Mikawachi Kōseki sei' ('Made by Kōseki of Mikawachi, product of Hirado, Japan')
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)