Iron with gold inlay; 6 11/16 in. (17 cm)
Gift of The Kronos Collections, 1987 (1987.416.2)
Tibetans were master ironworkers and their command of the medium is displayed in this censer's subtle design. Intricate scrolling vines pattern the openwork surface, which is highlighted by bands inlaid with gold. The chains from which the censer hangs are hooked to the body on bent protrusions shaped like sea monsters.
In Tibet, incense is made from fragrant woods, most commonly juniper, mixed with musk and clay, and it is an important part of virtually every Buddhist ritual, for both laymen and monks. A fine ceremonial censer such as this one, however, was likely one of the objects held by a high lama's "offering servant" during rituals.