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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Pyramidal porcelain perfume casket with square cross-section. Supported on four bulbous feet, with domed cover and flattened top. Fine white porcelain with partly pierced design of bamboo leaves within conventional wave and prunus border.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1662-1722
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 200 millimetres
    • Width: 179 millimetres
    • Depth: 177 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Qing 18thCRoom 95 label text:

    PDF A812

    Perfume casket or incense burner

    This unusual carved porcelain perfume casket is decorated on all sides with bamboo. The shades of copper-green, iron-yellow, iron-red, manganese-aubergine and cobalt and manganese black enamels are typical of Kangxi polychrome ware. Bamboo conventionally symbolises the 君子 (junzi ‘a Confucian gentleman of integrity’) as it bends but does not break under pressure and is evergreen. The upper part, which forms the cover, is carved in openwork.

    Carved porcelain with translucent overglaze colours
    Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province 江西省, 景德鎮
    Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, AD1662–1722


  • Bibliography

    • Pierson 2001 p. 34, no. 29 bibliographic details
    • Lady David 1973 p.32, no.A812 bibliographic details
    • Scott 1991 p.49, no.A812 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    16 March 2009

    Treatment proposal

    Remove remant of overpaint


    The object exhibited a large amount of surface dirt, especially in between the pierced porcelain bamboo decoration.

    Chips along the straight edges of the object were previously restored with plaster and painted. Much of these old restorations have since been lost although some residue of the plaster and paint remained, which then attracted dirt and discolored the break edges of the chips.

    Microscopic investigation revealed the discoloration on the four bulbous feet are due to surface abrasion.

    Treatment details

    The remnants of old restorations were removed from the chipped areas using a scalpel wetted with acetone. The discolored chipped areas were lightened by dabbing with a stencil brush wetted with acetone.

    The object was initially surface cleaned by swabbing with Synperonic A7 (diluted 1:20 with deionised water and further diluted again to make a working solution) followed by swabbing with deionised water for rinsing. The more stubborn areas of trapped dirt were cleaned by alternating swabbings with a working solution of Synperonic A7 and then a 70:30 solution of Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) and deionised water. However, swabbing alone proved too time-consuming due to the large surface area created by the pierced decoration. Instead, steam-cleaning (with deionised water) was used to surface clean the object. Afterward, follow-up swabbings with 70:30 Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) and deionised water were used to remove any remaining loosened but not-yet-removed dirt. The steam-cleaning proved very effective as these follow-up swabbings went very quickly and found very minimal amounts of dirt. Only the exterior surfaces were directly steam-cleaned and unglazed surfaces and the gold decoration on the lid were shielded from direct contact with the steam. The object was dried with white paper towels and left under cover to dry more thoroughly with tissue placed around it as a moisture buffer.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    Lady David 1973 records: From the Collection of Lord Kitchener. PDF card: Lord Kitchener Collection.

  • Department


  • Registration number



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Object reference number: RRC39730

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