Body of incense burner, missing rim and foot, Cizhou ware

Historical period(s)
Northern Song dynasty, 11th century
Stoneware with white slip and pigment under colorless glaze
Cizhou ware
H x W: 14.6 x 14.9 cm (5 3/4 x 5 7/8 in)
China, Hebei province, Cizhou county, Guantai kilns
Credit Line
Gift of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel

Incense burner

calligraphy, China, Cizhou ware, flower, incense, inscription, Northern Song dynasty (960 - 1127), stoneware, white slip

From at least 1916 to 1970
Eugene Meyer (1875-1959) and Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970), New York, NY, Washington, DC, and Mt. Kisco, NY, from at least 1916 [1]

From 1970
Freer Gallery of Art, bequeathed by Agnes E. Meyer [2]


[1] Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer lent this fragment of an incense burner to the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition in 1916, see S. C Bosch Reitz, Catalogue of An Exhibition of Early Chinese Pottery and Sculpture, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1916), cat. 111 (ill.).

[2] The object is included in a codicil to Agnes E. Meyer’s will and testament, dated December 23, 1969, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer (1875-1959) and (1887-1970)


Without the inscription that reads "Liu presents this incense burner as one of a pair to a Buddhist temple," modern scholars might not have recognized this fragment as the midsection of a Cizhou-type incense burner. The shape of the incense burner and its "fish roe" background design are copied from a metal prototype that potters could inexpensively reproduce. Cizhou ceramics, which were made for the popular market, frequently bear calligraphy in the form of dedicatory inscriptions, homilies, and the names of pottery workshops.

Published References
  • Jan Stuart. Beyond Calligraphy: Chinese Calligraphy on Objects. New York, Summer 1995. .
  • Sigisbert Chrétien Bosch Reitz. Catalogue of an Exhibition of Early Chinese Pottery and Sculpture. Exh. cat. New York. fig. 111.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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