Guan stoneware incense burner of archaic bronze gui form with flattened mouthrim, two round handles with masks and a flaring foot. The incense burner has greenish-grey glaze with regular, brown-stained crackle. There are raised bosses under the mouthrim and on the foot, and raised 'Eight Trigrams' band around the body.
- Made in: Hangzhou
- (Asia,China,Zhejiang (province),Hangzhou)
- Height: 138 millimetres
- Diameter: 276 millimetres
Published PDF date : Southern Song or Yuan 13th-14th centuryRoom 95 label text:
Incense burner with Eight Trigrams
Guan (official) stonewares are characterised by a thin dark clay body and a thick, glassy, celadon glaze with tiny bubbles and a wide crackle that can appear reddish brown when the body shows through. This incense burner is modelled on an ancient bronze food vessel called a gui. On each side is one of the 八卦 (ba gua ‘Eight Trigrams’) in relief. These are arguably the most familiar symbols associated with Daoism. Trigrams which are made up of combinations of three broken and unbroken parallel lines, are the basis for the 64 hexagrams of the 易經 (Yi Jing ‘Book of Changes’). These hexagrams are in turn interpreted to make sense of the world, its history and its future.
Stoneware, moulded and with celadon glaze
Guan ware 官窯
Hangzhou, Zhejiang province 浙江省，杭州市
Yuan dynasty, about AD 1279–1368
On display: G95/dc7/sh9
23 September 2009
Reason for treatment
Remove discoloured areas on rim, fill and paint chip.
Discoloured overpaint found along rim and both handles. Once this was removed it revealed a number of chips along the rim (filled with plaster), only two of which went beneath the glaze and exposed the body of the ceramic. Old repairs beneath the handles and one on the rim were undertaken with pieces of porcelain not from this ceramic.
The discoloured overpaint was removed with acetone applied on cotton wool swabs on a satay stick. This exposed the plaster fills which were removed with a scalpel and then steam cleaned with distilled water, excess water was removed from the surface with tissue.Where the body of the ceramic was exposed these were filled with Fynebond - an epoxy resin mixed with fumed silica and pigments. Cut back with a scalpel blade and sanded smooth with various grades of abrasive paper. If the chips did not go beneath the glaze they were left.The old repairs underneath both handles and one on the rim were dismantled using acetone applied to cotton wool which was laid along the joins and steam cleaned.These fragments of porcelain were reconstructed dry, securing with magic tape. Epoxy resin (Fynebond) was applied to the joins and was drawn in by capillary action. Excess adhesive was removed with acetone applied on a cotton wool swab on a satay stick and a scalpel blade.The piece of excess porcelain (which does not belong to the ceramic) which had been previously attached to a chip on the rim has been bagged in a polythene bag and retained with the incense burner.
R. L. Hobson, 1934 records: 'From the Imperial Collection, Peking.'
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Object reference number: RRC38434
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.