MING DYNASTY, 6-CHARACTER GILT ‘DA MING XUANDE NIAN ZHI’ MARK (1368–1644)
Of rectangular section resting on four ruyi-shaped feet, each face of the tapered censer is decorated with writhing dragons amid tumultuous waves, with on the sides two dragon heads projecting outward to form the handles. The openwork cover is matchingly decorated with dragons amidst ruyi clouds, centering a raised cloud finial with a pearl tip. The dragons are picked out in gilt and traces of gilt also cover various areas of clouds and waves. A gilt sixcharacter ‘Da Ming Xuande Nianzhi’ 大明宣德年製 mark is cast on the base.
A similar example is published in China’s Renaissance in Bronze: The Robert H. Clague Collection of Later Chinese Bronzes 1100-1900, Phoenix Art Museum, 1993, Catalogue No. 21.