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Xuande Incense Burner

Censing has a long history in China. Generally, people cense their clothes to show courtesy and censing later became a practice favored by intellectuals. Before the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220), incense burners made of ceramics, porcelain, brass, iron and tiles already came into being. During the Xuande reign (1425-1434) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the making technique of bronze incense burners reached its peak.

Emperor Xuande imported a batch of red copper and ordered craftsmen in the palace to design and make Xuande Incense Burner. In order to ensure good quality of these incense burners, craftsmen selected tens of precious metals such as gold and silver and fire them with red copper. The bronze incense burners they made have crystal-clear luster and are treasures of Ming Dynasty craftworks.

Historical records show that 3,000 pieces of Xuande Incense Burner were made with this batch of imported red copper during the reign of Xuande. No more incense burners of this kind were made after that. These Xuande Lu were kept in royal courts and ordinary people had no chance to see them. Hundreds of years later, Xuande Lu made at that period became rare and what we see today are mostly imitated by people of later periods.

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