There are other forms of Zhengde reign-marked bronze incense burners, such as the Zhengde reign-marked straight-sided incense burner sold in these rooms, 4th April 2012, lot 143. However, no other bowl of this shape appears to be recorded, although given the multiple forms of incense burners in the Ming and their popularity, it seems more likely that this was intended as an incense burner and not as a bowl for some other purpose.
It is inscribed in sini script, a Chinese Islamic calligraphic form for the Arabic script, developed in the early Ming dynasty. It can refer to any type of Chinese Islamic calligraphy, but is commonly used to refer to script with thick and tapered effects, such as on the current box. It is used extensively in mosques in Eastern China, and to a lesser extent in Gansu, Ningxia and Shaanxi. Early examples of the script date to the early Ming dynasty, notably the mihrab of the Niujue mosque in Beijing. The mosque itself was founded in 996 during the Liao dynasty, but rebuilt in 1442 during the Zhengtong era.
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