c1750 Chinese Bronze Censer with Ming Xuande Marks


An attractive and good quality original antique Chinese rectangular bronze censer with 4 lion’s feet and loop handles.

It has on the base the 4 character mark of the Ming Dynasty Xuande Emperor. It has a nice patina of age and a very elegant shape The curved legs have nicely detailed lion’s paws and the 2 handles have scrolling decoration. The condition is very good. Prior to us having it, the piece was purchased at a North Yorkshire auction in the 1950s. It is of an unusual shape that has not been reproduced.

The bronze censer dates from a later period, most likely during Qianlong reign (1735 – 1796) of the Qing Dynasty. To satisfy the craze for incense burners, the emperor Xuande ordered officials to import fine copper from Thailand and make them into incense burners in accordance with the patterns of porcelains from the historical records and the famous five kilns. Therefore the later smiths tried to emulate the ‘Golden era’ of the Xuande and added the marks as a form of respect.

A censer is a vessel in which incense is burned, especially during religious services. The main purposes of incense burners include fumigating clothing, for sacrifice and to keep a cheerful and tranquil mind during reading, because the ancient Chinese believed incense was beneficial for study, by appeasing the spirit and inspiring the mind.

Size: 16 x 7.5 x 9.5 cm (6 ¼ x 3 x 3 ¾ inches)
Weight: 1093 g