For a Kangxi reign-marked incense burner of liding form in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, see Rose Kerr, Later Chinese Bronzes, 1990, cat. no. 25. For examples at auction, see the smaller incense burner and cover sold in these rooms, 20th November 1984, lot 316, and again at Christie's Hong Kong, 28th November 2005, lot 1455; and a gold-splashed vase offered in our London rooms, 16th May 2012, lot 149.
The incense burner is likely to have been produced in the Palace Workshops, Beijing, possibly made for an Imperial temple. The form derives from the most majestic ritual bronze ding vessels of the Western Zhou dynasty, such as the famous example in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in 'Shanghai Bowuguan', Wenwu, Beijing, 1985, pl. 41. It shares the same monumentally cast body as its prototype, with similar inverted 'U'-shaped handles and powerful tubular legs, but the decoration on the exterior has been modified from the wave band and taotie mask on the Western Zhou example to the lotus flowers and lingzhi on the Kangxi example. The elaborate pierced cover and reticulated dragon knop on the current piece is also a Qing innovation.
For a smaller Qianlong reign-marked bronze vessel of fangding form, preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, see Views of Antiquity in the Qing Imperial Palace. Special Exhibition to Celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Palace Museum, Macau, 2005, no. 1. For an example of large Qianlong reign-marked bronze vessels, see a pair of bronze vases of fanghu form, decorated with dragons and phoenix, sold in these rooms, 9th October 2007, lot 1322.
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