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Large Japanese Cast Bronze Censer with Kirin, Edo Period, Early 19th Century



A large and powerfully cast Japanese bronze censer with mythical animals and a large kirin finial, signed Fujiwara Masashige, late Edo Period (1603 to 1868), early 19th century, Japan. The large late Edo Period censer, or incense burner, is elaborately cast, with fine and extensive details, and was most likely used in a Japanese temple setting. The tall censer of tripod form, set on an integral base, with a compressed globular body, large outward sweeping handles, and an openwork cover surmounted by a fierce kirin. The body features a dense pattern of Japanese mythological beasts flying, striding and swimming upon an elaborate diaper ground. One side with a writhing dragon flanked by a kirin (auspicious chimeric beast) and ho-o (phoenix bird). The opposite side with writhing another dragon flanked by a baku (nightmare devouring beast), and minogame (ancient turtle with a seaweed tail). The beasts appear on other parts of the censer, with a large kirin serving as the finial. Ho-o phoenixes make up the openwork on the cover, while dragons chase the pearl of wisdom around the neck. The legs and hanging lappets with more kirin, and the base with swimming minogame. The interior of the censer inset with a bronze mirror, cast with auspicious objects and two large silvered characters "fuku" (fortune) and "kotobuki" (longevity). The mirror signed Fujiwara Masashige. Fujiwara Masashige is a well known Edo Period bronze mirror artist. A mirror with similar design elements, also signed Fujiwara Masashige, and dated to the 18th century, can be found in the collection of the British Museum (item 1972,0923.1). The large, out-swept handles decorated with a geometric design and surmounted by ogre masks. Originally fully gilded, traces of the original gilding can be found in the deeper recesses, playing beautifully with the light. The bronze of a deep brown chocolate color.


  • Dimensions
    Height: 31.25 in. (79.38 cm)Width: 16.75 in. (42.55 cm)Depth: 11.25 in. (28.58 cm)
  • Style
    Edo (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    Early 19th Century
  • Condition
    Repaired: The kirin finial reattached. Wear consistent with age and use. Minor structural damages. Minor fading. The handles with some slight movement, but attached and intact. The gilding mostly worn, with remnants in the crevices. The kirin finial reattached. Minor loss to the scalloped edge of the cover.
  • Seller Location
    Austin, TX
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU894722378722

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Austin, TX
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Austin, TX

Founded in 2001, Lotus Gallery offers a carefully curated selection of furniture, jewelry, sculpture and works of art spanning millennia, continents and cultures. Although it seeks out beauty in all its forms, they specialize in Asian antiquities, especially Chinese pieces from the Han and Tang dynasties and chinoiserie. Based in Austi...

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Established in 2001
1stDibs seller since 2010
155 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 2 hours
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