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PROPERTY FROM A GERMAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Byzantine, 6th-8th century
CENSER WITH SIX SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF CHRIST
Estimation
30 00050 000
Lot. Vendu 37,500 GBP (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
3

PROPERTY FROM A GERMAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Byzantine, 6th-8th century
CENSER WITH SIX SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF CHRIST
Estimation
30 00050 000
Lot. Vendu 37,500 GBP (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art

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Byzantine, 6th-8th century
CENSER WITH SIX SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF CHRIST
bronze
11cm., 4 5/8 in. overall; 9.8cm., 3 7/8 in. diameter at top rim
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Provenance

Dr Waldemar Belck (1862-1936), Germany, acquired before 1899;
thence by descent to the present owner

Exposition

Munich, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Prähistorische Staatssammlungen, Rom und Byzanz: Archäologische Kostbarkeiten aus Bayern, 1998-1999, no. 30

Bibliographie

L. Wamser and G. Zahlhaas (eds.), Rom und Byzanz: Archäologische Kostbarkeiten aus Bayern, exh. cat. Prähistorische Staatssammlungen, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, 1998, pp. 44-45, no. 30

Description

This rare Early Christian censer with figural decoration shows six scenes from the Life of Christ: The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Baptism, The Crucifixion, and The Women at the Tomb. Most of the around one hundred surviving censers of this type include five scenes, and only a few examples, like the present censer, have more, up to nine. In the scholarship this group of objects has been dated to the 6th-8th century and localised in the Syria-Palestine area, though it is possible that production was spread more widely. While the modelling is worn, the figural scenes on the present censer display a remarkable degree of detail, such as the stylised Sun and Moon in the Crucifixion. The censer is further distinguished by its attractive foliate borders to the rim and the foot. A comparable example (though with only five scenes) is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (inv. no. 65.9). 

The present censer was brought to Germany in 1899 by Dr Waldemar Belck, the distinguished German chemist and amateur archaeologist. In 1884, at the age of 22, Belck embarked on an expedition to Southwest-Africa where he conducted significant research on the area's resources. From 1888 he was employed by Siemens & Halske and stationed at the copper mines in the Caucasus region. It was in 1891 that he first began exploratory travel to the Near East, which culminated in an elaborate expedition to Armenia in 1898/1899, followed by further expeditions in 1901 and 1904. Many of his important archaeological discoveries are now located in the Völkerkundemuseum, Berlin. It is likely that Belck received the censer as a gift during his sojourn in Armenia.

RELATED LITERATURE
N. Netzer, Medieval Objects in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Metalwork, Boston, 1991, pp. 154-156, no. 60

Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art

|
Londres