A fine jade incense burner and cover

Spinach jade censer
Spinach jade censer side


18th century
Height: 5 1/2 in, 14 cm

after an archaic bronze original and in the form of a rectangle with protruding cylindrical corners that rise from short feet with slightly concave bases. Two upright scrolling handles issue from the shorter sides. The vessel is worked in low relief with two registers of archaistic decoration separated by a ribbed band: interlaced dragons with scaly bodies and no legs, above four shaped lappets, each filled with simplified phoenix designs, to the corners and two shou (longevity) characters to the centre of the longer sides. The cover is surmounted by a knop in the form of an openwork coiled, scaly, two-horned dragon, its legs resting on coiled chi dragons at each corner. The stone is a bright spinach-green tone.


For related examples of this form, see S. W. Bushell, Chinese Art (London, 1924), Vol. 1, fig. 100, in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum; Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, 1935–6 (London, 1935), no. 2830, from the Buchanan-Jardine collection; Chiumei Ho and Bennet Bronson, Splendors of China’s Forbidden City: The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong (London and New York, 2004), fig. 309; René-Yvon Lefebvre d’Argencé, Chinese Jades in the Avery Brundage Collection (San Francisco, 1977), pl. LV, pp. 124–5; Jiufang Li, Chinese Jades Throughout the Ages – Connoisseurship of Chinese Jades (Chicago and San Francisco, 1996) Vol. 11, no. 94, pp. 188–9, in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing; Chih-liang Na, Feng-p’ei Wu and Liu-mei Ch’en, Masterworks of Chinese Jade in the National Palace Museum (Taipei, 1969), no. 42; and William Watson and Chuimei Ho, The Arts of China after 1620 (New Haven and London, 2007), fig. 88, p. 80.