A Longquan celadon phoenix incense burner Ming dynasty
Lot 264
A Longquan celadon phoenix incense burner Ming dynasty
HK$ 350,000 - 450,000
US$ 45,000 - 58,000

Lot Details
Various Owners
A Longquan celadon phoenix incense burner
Ming dynasty
Rising from a splayed foot modelled in the form of rockworks hollowed at three points, surmounted by a bird with its detachable tail and wings raised and semi-spread, centered at the middle with a coin-shaped cover, the neck extending upwards with its head turned left, incised all over with feathery details and covered in a smooth cool green glaze with natural crackling effect, pierced silver Meiji cover.
28cm wide. (3).

Footnotes

  • 明 龍泉青釉鳳凰爐

    The inner structure of the current lot is a simple yet ingenious contraption allowing smoke to emerge from the phoenix's beak. When burning incense, a convectional current of air would move through the three cave-like holes at the foot driving the smoke up the hollowed neck, which serves as a chimney, thus allowing the air and smoke to escape through the phoenix's mouth.

    A similar example can be found at the British Museum collection, in the form of a parrot incense burner which is also hollowed-out with channels connecting to the cavity at the beak, similar to the current lot, which was formerly in the collection of George Eumorfopoulous and was acquired by the museum in 1911, reg. no.1911,0607.27.

    Although the usage of avian class imagery as the main subject for incense burners have been present since the Eastern Zhou dynasty, the practicality of such tradition and technique survived and permeated through the dynasties. For example, the Chenghua Emperor was known to be particularly fond of innovative creations, and such skilful incense burners appealed to him causing their production in porcelain during his reign. An illustrated example of a Chenghua sancai-glazed duck incense burner is in A Legacy of Chenghua. Imperial Porcelain of the Chenghua Reign Excavated from Zhushan, Jingdezhen, Hong Kong, 1993, pp.156-157, no.C43.
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