Filter collection by status:

H:12.5cm W:61cm

18th century.

WEB1131

 

 

18th-19th century.

China.

H:12cm D:9cm. 

WEB1142

View Images

18th-19th century.

China. 

H:7.5cm W:10cm

Incense seals are an East Asian phenomenon.  They owe their development to several things, beginning with the ancient need for Chinese officials to find more accurate ways to measure the passage of time than the current water clocks, sand clocks, and sundials.  Although a very small percentage of the population required this, astronomers, palace officials, temples, night watchmen and others were dependent upon the relatively accurate burning incense measurement of passing time, especially as it could be used after dark and also be portable.

The incense seal works by a steady and controlled burning of a line of specially formulated ground incense.  The nearest similar items would be a fuse cord, and these were also used in China, especially for alerting court messengers to arise in the small hours of night.  By careful design of the incense "trail" as well as the incense mixture and vessel, passing hours could be measured well within the acceptable standards of time. 

Metal incense seals are usually made of paktong and these are believed to have been made near or in present day Shanghai.  Others are of pewter, possibly made near Canton.

WEB1129

 

Seated Amitayus

Ref: WEB1114

View Images

Pair of miniature snuff box & covers carved overlay Peking glass. (5173)

W 15mm H 45mm

Ref: WEB1083

View Images

Chinese root wood carving of deity.

W 165mm H 250mm

Ref: WEB999

View Images

Chinese root wood carving of deity. (5236)

W 140mm H 260mm

Ref: WEB998

View Images

Chinese root wood carving of deity.

W 80mm H 135mm

Ref: WEB997

View Images

Chinese root wood carving of deity (5236)

W 80mm H 150mm

Ref: WEB996

View Images

Root wood sculpture of a man holding in a hand the three legs toad and in the other hand holding coins symbolised good luck and good fortune.

W 220mm H 500mm

Ref: WEB993

View Images