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Bowl and stand

Bowl and stand

  • Date:

    16th-18th century

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Vase or Bowl. Bronze, circular, with performed bronze stand, tinted with yellow lacquer.
Brass censer with brass stand, reign mark of 'Xuande'(1426-1435) but dating to the 16th-18th century, height with stand 13cm (Published in ''Later Chinese Bronzes", 1989, by Rose Kerr)
Research by Maria Fabrizi-Feb. 1988: These date to 18th or 19th century A.D. The censer is plain, and has two handles. The vessel interior shows circular striations, perhaps suggesting that the turning method was used for finishing the casting. The interior is black and green, and shows signs of wear. The exterior of the censer is homogeneous in appearance, and it has a rather speckled yellow-brown colour. External damage is slight, and corrosion is limited to some green products inside the lip, and a bluish patch on the underside near the cast-in mark. It is uncertain whether the handles were made separately or not. The stand shows yellow metal where it has been abraded, and it has a patina which varies from yellow to reddish.
Analyses were carried out on the body and the stand, using non-intrusive EDXRF methods. The compositions of both objects are very close to each other. The metal is such that it could not have been produced, except if metallic zinc(Zn) were available to be alloyed with the copper(Cu). The properties are those of Alpha-phase brass, and the Cu-Zn ratio is very similar to that of a modern European cartridge metal. In the Chinese literature, ‘‘ Yellow coins’’ are described as being made from ‘‘four fire brass’’, which was about 70% copper and 30% zinc. The censer and stand are made of a metal very close to this, and this small amounts of tin, lead and iron do not seem to be particularly significant. The iron was probably an impurity in the copper, and it seems unlikely that such tiny amounts of the other metals would be added deliberately. They may have got in as components of scrap metal, if some had been used to make up the weight of the load to be melted. Such a large amount of zinc represents a deliberate addition, and could not have present if the cementation process had been used for making the brass.


16th-18th century


Height: 5 in, Diameter: 7 in

Descriptive line

Met, China, vess/cont/holders


East Asia Collection

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