Incense Burner

Historical period(s)
Tang dynasty, 7th-8th century
Gilded bronze
H x W x D: 13.3 x 27.2 x 25.8 cm (5 1/4 x 10 11/16 x 10 3/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel

Ritual vessel: incense burner

China, incense, Tang dynasty (618 - 907)

As early as 1929 to 1950
C. T. Loo & Company, Paris, France and New York, NY [1]

1950 to 1953
C. T. Loo INC., New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo & Company [2]

1953 to 1961
C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo, INC. [3]

1961 to 1966
C. T. Loo & Cie, Paris, France by transfer from C. T. Loo Chinese Art [4]

1966 to 1967
J. T. Tai & Company, New York, NY purchased from C. T. Loo & Cie, Paris France in New York on June 20, 1966 [5]

From 1968 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, purchased from T. J. Tai on December 31, 1968 in New York, NY [6]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [7]


[1] Object is published in Osvald Siren, A History of Early Chinese Art, Volume II. London: E. Benn, Ltd., 1929, plate 133. C. T. Loo & Company is cited as the owner.

[2] In 1950, C. T. Loo announced his retirement from C. T. Loo & Company, New York and Paris. Between 1950 and the summer of 1953, he continued to do business, however, he did so under the name C. T. Loo, INC. and organized exhibitions of his company’s stock using this new business name. C. T. Loo’s daughter, Janie Emanuel Loo operated the Paris branch of C. T. Loo & Company as C. T. Loo & Cie., Arts d’Asie. C. T. Loo, INC. was dissolved by the summer of 1953.

[3] The object is published in The Arts of the T’ang Dynasty: A loan exhibition organized by the Los Angeles County Museum from Collections in America, The Orient and Europe, January 8 – February 17, 1952, cat. 110 (ill.). “Mr. Frank Caro, C. T. Loo, New York” is cited as the owner; the business’s formal name, however, was C. T. Loo Chinese Art.

On September 1, 1952, C. T. Loo’s associate, Frank Caro (1904-1980) took over daily operations of the New York business. C. T. Loo, INC. was dissolved by the summer of 1953 and Caro operated as C. T. Loo Chinese Art. Loo continued to play a large role in the business, as he and Caro struck a deal in which profits made on Loo’s stock would be evenly divided and Loo would maintain the lease and rental payments on the company’s gallery space.

[4] In 1961, Loo and Caro’s agreement ended. C. T. Loo & Cie., Paris, France took control of C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York stock, which C. T. Loo added to the inventory before his death in 1957. This object was part of that inventory.

[5] See J. T. Tai & Company stock record “A 418: Gilt Bronze Incense Burner, T’ang Dyn,” copy located in accession file. The seller is recorded as “C. T. Loo & Cie.”

[6] J. T. Tai & Company invoice addressed to Dr. Arthur M. Sackler, dated 10/19/1967, copy located in the object file and in the FǀS COM provenance files. J. T. Tai & Company stock record A 418 reports that the sale was not finalized until December 31, 1968, copy in accession file.

[7] Pursuant to the agreement between Arthur M. Sackler and the Smithsonian Institution, dated July 28, 1982, legal title of the donated objects was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on September 11, 1987.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948
C.T. Loo, INC. ca. 1948-no later than July 1953
C.T. Loo & Cie, Art Ancien de Chine ca. 1950-2011
J.T. Tai & Co. established in 1950
C.T. Loo Chinese Art 1953-1961

Published References
  • Henry Trubner. The Arts of the T'ang Dynasty. Exh. cat. Los Angeles. cat. 110.
  • Osvald Siren. A History of Early Chinese Art. 4 vols., London, 1929-1930. vol. 2, pl. 113.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.