Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Bronze with treated surface
H. 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm); Diam. 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Burning incense was a fashionable pastime among scholars and merchants in southeast China in the late Ming and early Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. Many of the incense burners produced during this time copied shapes from contemporaneous ceramics, while other relied on bronze forms, some of which can be traced to China’s earliest metalworking traditions. Great skill was employed in finishing the surfaces of these bronzes, which can show patinations ranging from red to green to brown with gold splashes.