Incense Burner with Peonies


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.

Incense Burner with Peonies, Gilt bronze, China

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