Incense Burner

Artist/maker unknown, Chinese

Made in China, Asia


Glazed stoneware (Ge ware)

3 1/8 x 6 5/8 inches (8 x 16.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Major General and Mrs. William Crozier, 1944

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Inscribed on the base (translated): I wonder if someone replaced the incense from last night. Surprisingly, the fragrance can still be smelled until now. The design (of the handles) was taken from the chong fish, and the color is like that of a patterned eel. There is no fire or smoke to begin with, but it seems like there is cloud and mist. After I finished distinguishing the eight transformations and discerning the true nature, how can I tell where the roots of my nose are?

Composed by the Qianlong emperor in the mid-spring of the cyclical year of Bingshen (AD 1776)

This incense burner demonstrates China’s deep reverence of its past. Most likely made during the Ming dynasty, its form is based on a thirteenth- to fourteenth-century Ge ware censer, which itself was modeled after an archaic bronze food offering vessel. The Qianlong emperor (ruled 1736–95) of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) admired these historical aspects and had his sentiments carved into the base.