Images of cats from the British Museum collection, £9.99
Height: 9.500 cm
Width: 9.500 cm
Thickness: 9.500 cm
Gift of H. Oppenheimer and Maurice Rosenheim
Room 53: Ancient South Arabia
Painted limestone incense burner
From ancient South Arabia, possibly 5th-4th century BC
Cuboid incense burners have a long history in the ancient Near East. They were particularly popular in the Levant and Arabia from the late fifth century BC to the first century AD and were specifically used to burn natural aromatics within the home and temple.
This type of cuboid incense burner is often inscribed with the names of specific aromatics from the range of woods, barks, roots and resins used in South Arabia, many of which have yet to be identified. This example is inscribed with the names rand, darw, kamkam and qust.
St J. Simpson (ed.), Queen of Sheba: treasures from (London, The British Museum Press, 2002)