Incense burner, 13th century


In Buddhist ritual, the burning of incense before a holy image is one of six devotions considered to be effective in accruing religious merit. The diffusion of fragrant smoke symbolizes the permeation of Buddhism throughout the universe. This elegant example consists of a middle chamber which holds hot coal, a bottom chamber for ash, and the upper portion into which a powdered incense or a piece of fragrant wood would be placed. The dome is decorated with a pierced design of drifting clouds while the knob takes the shape of a "wish-granting jewel" or lotus bud.

Incense burner
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 814
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

short, squat incense burner on three legs; three separate parts; domed cover with bud-shaped nib; floral stamped and etched patterns on lid