Incense burner

Historical period(s)
Southern Dynasties period, Period of Division, ca. 500
Medium
Stoneware with green glaze
Dimensions
H x Diam (overall): 15 x 12 cm (5 7/8 x 4 3/4 in)
Geography
China, Fujian province
Credit Line
The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; a joint gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2012.9.3624a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Incense burner

Keywords
China, Fujian ware, incense, Paul Singer collection, Southern dynasties (317 - 589), stoneware
Provenance

Around 1935 to 1960
Likely unearthed at Nantai kiln site in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China under the supervision of James Marshall Plumer (1899-1960), Ann Arbor, MI and incorporated into his private collection [1]

1960 to 1968
Caroline (Carol) L. Plumer (1901–1995) inherited upon the death of her husband on June 15, 1960 [2]

1968 to 1997
Dr. Paul Singer, Summit, NJ purchased from Caroline L. Plumer through Frank Caro Co. Chinese Art, New York, NY on December 3, 1968 [3]

1997 to 1999
In the custody of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and a loan agreement between the Executors of the Singer Estate and the Gallery in February 1997 [4]

From 1999
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler [5]

Notes:

[1] See drafted catalogue of The Paul Singer Collection, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. See also: Fujio Koyama and Jiro Harada, “Yüeh-Chou Yao Celadon Excavated in Japan,” Artibus Asiae, Vol. 14, No.1/2 (1951), p.31. James Marshall Plumber discovered the Yüeh-chou celadon kiln-sites at Nan-t’ai (now known as Nantai) around 1935.

Plumer likely incorporated the object into his collection shortly after its discovery. The object remained in his collection until his death, see: Selections from the James Marshall Plumer Collection of Oriental Art: A memorial Exhibition, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI (March 6 to April 8, 1962), 22b.

[2] Caroline Plumer managed the dispersal of her husband’s collection, working extensively with Frank Caro, the successor to C. T. Loo Chinese Art (later operating as Frank Caro Chinese Art and as Frank Caro Co. Chinese Art). Around the time of the 1962 exhibition (referenced in note 1) to possibly as late as 1970, Frank Caro held pieces from James Marshall Plumer’s collection on consignment (see letters from Lnor O. West of the Freer Gallery of Art to Mr. Frank Caro, April 12, 1962, in object file F1974.121). Frank Caro inventoried the Plumer’s collection and created stock cards for each object; each is inventoried with the “CP” or “JCP” prefix. This piece was inventoried as “CP 319” (the “CP” could be a typing error, as “JCP” is the more common lettering in his files).

[3] See invoice on Frank Caro Co. Chinese Art letterhead to Dr. Paul Singer, December 3, 1968, copy in object file. Object identified as “CP 319: Porcellaneous incense burner Pa-shan-lo with tall domed lid, on a flat base saucer foot. Domed lid with holes and petal like shoots. Coated with a think greenish glaze. Yueh type. Han. H: 4 ½.” Unclear if this object was still held by Frank Caro on consignment (see note 2).

The collection of Chinese art and antiquities assembled by Paul Singer was purchased by him on behalf of Arthur M. Sackler, Jillian Sackler, the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities and later was transferred to the children of Arthur M. Sackler.

[4] The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art came into the custody of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and a loan agreement between the Executors of the Singer Estate and the Gallery in February 1997.

[5] See “The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art Gift Agreement,” March 1999, Collections Management Office. This object was formally accessioned into the museum collection in 2012.

Previous Owner(s)

James Marshall Plumer 1899-1960
Caroline L. Plumer 1901-1995
Dr. Paul Singer 1904-1997
Frank Caro Chinese Art 1962-1980

Published References
  • Jan Fontein, Wu Tung. Unearthing China's Past. Exh. cat. Boston. fig. 67a.
  • Henry Trubner. Chinese Ceramics: From the Prehistoric Period through Chien Lung. A Loan Exhibition from Collections in America and Japan. Exh. cat. Los Angeles, March 14 - April 27, 1952. cat. 54, fig. 2.
  • James Marshall Plumer. Selections from the James Marshall Plumer Collection of Oriental Art: A Memorial Exhibition. Exh. cat. Detroit, March 6 - April 8, 1962. p. 22b.
  • J. Keith Wilson. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: New Collections: The Singer Collection. vol. 43, no. 7, October 2012. p. 50 (cited).
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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