Chinese incense burner

China
Ming dynasty, dated AD 1491

This large stoneware incense burner is incised and has relief-moulded dragon and phoenix decoration beneath sancai (three-coloured) glaze. 

The side handles are inscribed on one side with the date: ‘Made on an auspicious day of the fourth lunar month of the fourth year of Hongzhi (AD 1491)’; and on the other ‘Incense burner made for the Jingxin [Pure Mind] Temple’.

Incense is burned at temples and on domestic altars as a means of opening communication channels with the spirit world.

Burners like this one would have been filled with sand in which sticks of incense were placed and burnt.

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Dimensions

Museum number

1983.0730.1

Height: 57.00 cm
Diameter: 49.00 cm (max.)

Location

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