A tripod covered incense burner with chi-dragon handles and interlocking lotus design on a zitan wood stand

Qianlong period (1736-1795), Qing dynasty, China

Height: 44 cm, 17.32 inches; Width: 34 cm, 13.39 inches

Zitan base: 6.7 cm

The burner stands on three cabriole legs each forming the stylised body of a dragon, the gilt bronze heads of which support the body of the censer. The body is decorated with lotus flowers and scrolls between four repeated cartouche designs centred with four prunes blossoms, and flanked by leafy scrolls in white, cobalt blue, green and black enamels, surmounted at the centre by a floral emblem in bright yellow. A band of stylised lotus petals in red, blue and green enamels adorns the neckline; the shoulders are embellished with two Chi-dragon handles in gilt bronze, each fearsome face detailed with bulging eyes, voluminous mains and an arched body adorned by ruyi-shaped scrolls which finish as the dragon’s tail. The cover is surmounted by a perforated large gilt bronze nob designed with openwork lotus flowers and scrolls, crowned with a swirling roundel, the domed lid with a design of three medallions of flowers and plants echoing the main body. The carved zitan hardwood stand is in a triple lingzhi-shaped design on a stepped base.

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