Chinese Antique Bronze Hill Censers

Chinese Antique Bronze Hill Censers

Hill Jar, or hill-censer, called in Chinese po-shan-lu. In bronze these are surmounted by a roughly conical cover with holes, so cast and decorated as to resemble hills piling up to a central peak. The holes occur behind each rising hill, and through these the incense could emerge.

The hemispherical bowl, in which the incense was placed, was supported in various ways from the wide flat bottomed bowl; the support might be a simple column, a bird with outspread wings, or even a boy balancing the incense bowl on his hand stretched up above his head.

The hill was often decorated with animals and hunting scenes, and a few examples are inlaid with gold. The type is confined to the Han Dynasty and its origin is obscure; two possible explanations have been put forward; first, that the mountain form represents the Five Sacred Mountains of China, and second that it represents Mount Sumeru, the sacred mountain of the Buddhists.

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