Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Incense Burner with Peonies

Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
16th–17th century
Gilt bronze
H. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm); Diam. of rim 4 in. (10.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Seymour Fund and Gift of Mrs. Edward Brayton, by exchange, 2006
Accession Number:
Not on view
The densely worked background of naturalistic plants cast in high relief and covered with gold leaf is typical of the work of Hu Wenming, one of the few Chinese metalworkers whose names have been recorded. Little is known about his life except that he worked in Yunjian, an affluent area twenty miles southwest of Shanghai that has long been associated with the arts. Most of the pieces in this style are scholars’ accoutrements: incense paraphernalia, brush holders, ruyi scepters, and hand warmers. It seems likely that this censer was once part of a set that also included a box for storing incense, a vase, snd additional implements such as a spoon and tongs.
Marking: (incised on base): a six-character mark reading Yunjian Hu Wenming Zhi (made by Hu Wenming of Yunjian) 雲間胡文明製
Sale, Christie's, Paris , June 14, 2006, lot 42; to MMA
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