large, heavy and ornate censer finely cast with hand-chased ornamentation. Well
used, dark and crusted over on the inside, the outer surface bearing a smoky patina
of dark bronze with metallic highlights.
censer stands on four enormous paws, each with five claws, that issue from the
mouths of four tao’ tieh masks with fangs, glaring eyes and spiraling wrathful
eyebrows, pointed ears and curling horns. The masks support the bowl of the censer,
on either side of which are dueling dragons carved in high relief. Each dragon
has five claws, wild staring eyes and backward bending horns, and each pair holds
between them a flaming jewel. On either side of the bowl are two roaring chimeras
looking outward, fangs bared, with engraved details of head and mane, each with
two long whiskers descending. The
lid of the bowl is pierced in arabesques of floral and foliate motifs; attached
are four horned masks with open mouths and long tongues that curve down to the
rim of the lid. Acient coins blooms from flower petals adorning the sides. At
the very top of the lid is the great roaring Foo Dog, its sinuous spine connecting
the lavish mane and billowing tail.