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incense-burner

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    PDF.17

  • Description

    Guan stoneware incense burner of archaic bronze gui form with an everted mouthrim, simplified bronze-form handles, and a low inverted foot. The incense burner has dark olive-grey glaze with a dark, even crackle, irregularly stained. The incense burner has five spur marks on interior, and an inscription and six spur marks on the base, which is glazed.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1279-1368
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 81 millimetres
    • Diameter: 115 millimetres
    • Diameter: 88 millimetres (base)
    • Diameter: 115 millimetres (mouth)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        inside
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

        bing
      • Inscription Translation

        number 2 (second class)
      • Inscription Comment

        This refers to the grade of ware within the palace. Bing marked pieces were regarded as lower grade than jia marked pieces. Hobson 1934
      • Inscription Type

        seal
      • Inscription Position

        on base
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        太璞
      • Inscription Transliteration

        taipu
      • Inscription Translation

        supreme simplicity
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        base
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        考工不入市之器
        歲久玆為席上珍
        古丙乎而今甲矣
        絜其品格有如人
        弟陶色美兄色淡
        火候短長偶一朝
        白圾淺紋微壁暴
        也稱佳玩實哥窑
        乾隆己酉仲春御題
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Kaogong buru shi zhi qi
        suijiu ci wei xishang zhen
        gu bing hu er jin jia yi
        jie qi pinge you ru ren
        ditao se mei xiong se dan
        huohou duanchang ou yi chao
        baiji qianwen wei bipu
        ye cheng jiawan shi geyao
        Qianlong jiyou zhongchun yuti
      • Inscription Translation

        When it was made, this vessel was deemed unfit for sale by the court official. Now it is a treasure for the table, hallowed by the passing of the years. What was only of the third quality in ancient times, has now become of the highest value. We grade our vessels as we do men. The younger brother’s ware is beautiful in colour; that of the Elder brother is paler. Very great skill is needed to control the firing. Small adjustments make a considerable difference also in the hundreds of tiny crackle lines. Yet now the Ge ware with its ice-crackle has become a treasured work of art.
        Composed by the Qianlong emperor in the second month of Spring in the cyclical year jiyou [AD 1789]
      • Inscription Comment

        This is found in: 集部/別集類/清代/御製詩集/五集卷四十八
      • Inscription Type

        seal
      • Inscription Position

        base
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        古香
      • Inscription Transliteration

        guxiang
      • Inscription Translation

        ancient fragrance
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Southern Song 13thCRoom 95 label text:

    PDF 17

    Inscribed incense burner in the form of a gui


    There is a poem by Emperor Qianlong dated 1786 incised on the base, the character 'bing' incised on the inside. This poem reads 考工不入市之器, 歲久 玆為席上珍, 古丙乎而今甲矣,絜其品格有如人, 弟陶色美兄色淡, 火候短長偶一朝, 白圾淺紋微壁暴, 也稱佳玩實哥窑, 乾隆己酉仲春御題 Kaogong buru shi zhi qi, suijiu ci wei xishang zhen, gu bing hu er jin jia yi, jie qi pinge you ru ren, ditao se mei xiong se dan, huohou duanchang ou yi chao, baiji qianwen wei bipu, ye cheng jiawan shi geyao Qianlong jiyou zhongchun yuti This translates as: When it was made, this vessel was deemed unfit for sale by the court official. Now it is a treasure for the table, hallowed by the passing of the years. What was only of the third quality in ancient times has now become of the highest value. We grade our vessels as we do men. The younger brother’s ware is beautiful in colour; that of the Elder brother is paler. Very great skill is needed to control the firing. Small adjustments make a considerable difference also in the hundreds of tiny crackle lines. Yet now the Ge ware with its ice-crackle has become a treasured work of art. Composed by the Qianlong emperor in the second month of Spring in the cyclical year jiyou [AD 1789]. Two seals at the end of the inscription read: 古香 (guxiang ‘ancient fragrance’) 太璞 (taipu 'supreme simplicity').


    Stoneware with celadon glaze
    Guan ware 官窯
    Hangzhou, Zhejiang province 浙江省, 杭州市
    Yuan dynasty, about AD 1279–1368

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  • Bibliography

    • Hobson 1934 p. 25, pl. XXIV bibliographic details
    • Pierson & Barnes 2002 p.14, no.5 (and base) bibliographic details
    • Pierson 1999 pp 25-26, no.17 bibliographic details
    • Yorke Hardy 1953 pp 6-7, no.17, pl.III bibliographic details
  • Location

    G95/dc7/sh8

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    R. L. Hobson, 1934 records: 'From the Imperial Collection, Peking.'

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    PDF.17

Guan stoneware incense burner of archaic bronze gui form with an everted mouthrim, simplified bronze-form handles, and a low inverted foot.  The incense burner has dark olive-grey glaze with a dark, even crackle, irregularly stained. The incense burner has five spur marks on interior, and an inscription and six spur marks on the base, which is glazed.

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