Tripod vessel with cover

Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Qianlong reign, 1736-1796
Jade (nephrite), wooden stand
H x W: 25 x 28.3 cm (9 13/16 x 11 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 13: Looking Out, Looking In: Art in Late Imperial China
Jade, Vessel

Incense burner

China, dragon, incense, lion, Qianlong reign (1736 - 1796), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911)
Provenance research underway.

Interest in ancient history was strong in the eighteenth century in China, and many contemporary vessels were made with an archaistic flavor. The shape of this censer harks back to ancient Bronze Age vessels, specifically the ding tripod. The lionlike animal on the lid and the dragon on each handle are protective beasts. A censer like this might have belonged to the ritual paraphernalia placed in front of a grand ancestor portrait or important religious painting. Jade urns were also appreciated as art objects and the superb quality of this object suggests that it may have been a decorative item for a high level recepient, perhaps a member of the court.

Published References
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Arts of Asia at the Time of American Independence: Bicentennial Exhibition, Freer Gallery of Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975-1976. p. 12.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 34.
  • Stanley Charles Nott. A Catalogue of Rare Chinese Jade Carvings. St. Augustine. p. 140.
  • Yamanaka and Co. Collection of Chinese and Other Far Eastern Art. New York and Chicago. p. 168.
  • Edwards Park. Treasures from the Smithsonian Institution., 1st ed. Washington and New York. p. 341.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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