Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Censer

Date:
before 1477
Geography:
Made in Basel, Switzerland
Culture:
Swiss
Medium:
Silver, raised and cast
Dimensions:
Overall: 31 7/8 x 5 3/4 in. (81 x 14.6 cm) censer without chain: 9 11/16 x 5 3/4 in. (24.6 x 14.6 cm) Lid: 7 1/4 x 5 3/4 in. (18.4 x 14.6 cm) Base: 2 11/16 x 5 3/4 in. (6.8 x 14.6 cm) Chain: 25 1/2in. (64.8cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Silver
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.360
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306
Octagonal in section, this censer not only draws heavily on architectural vocabulary but also, in the upper section, imitates a Gothic structure such as a centrally planned oratory or baptistery. The lowest of the three elevations is composed of eight pairs of tall, doubled windows surmounted by quatrefoils and a crocketed gable.

The architectural conceit well suits the function of the object, as the generous fenestrations allow air to fire the incense coals while providing an escape for the perfuming smoke. The four chains threaded through every other tower support the vessel; raising the fifth chain by the ring elevates the entire upper section, allowing for the addition of incense.
J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917); Prince Peter Soltykoff ; Baron Achille Sellière, Paris
Fritz, Johann Michael. Goldschmiedekunst der Gotik in Mitteleuropa. Munich: C. H. Beck, 1982. p. 230, fig. 306, mislabelled as 17.19.0359 in text.

Pushkin Museum and State Hermitage Museum. Dekorativno-prikladnoe iskusstvo ot pozdneĭ antichnosti do pozdneĭ gotiki: Iz sobraniĭ muze︠i︡a Metropoliten, Nʹ︠i︡u Ĭork i Khudozhestvennogo Instituta, Chikago. Moscow: Pushkin Museum, 1990. no. 66, pp. 13, 41, fig. 66.

State Hermitage Museum. Dekorativno-prikladnoe iskusstvo ot pozdneĭ antichnosti do pozdneĭ gotiki. St. Petersburg: State Hermitage Museum, 1990. no. 66, pp. 8, 138-139.

Husband, Timothy B. The Treasury of Basel Cathedral. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001. no. 16, pp.72-74.

Berkemeier-Favre, Marie-Claire, Therese Wollmann, Martin Sauter, Sabine Häberli, and Ines Braun-Balzer. Der Basler Münsterschatz: Historisches Museum Basel, edited by Brigitte Meles. Basel: Christoph Merian Verlag, 2001. no. 45, pp. 149-151.



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