A Song Dynasty Cizhou Pottery Censer or Lamp, 11th Century

A Northern Song Dynasty Cizhou Type Pottery Censer or Lamp 11th Century, Cixian Kilns, Hebei Province. This strong shape, presumably based on metal, has sometimes been termed a ‘cupstand’ in some Western literature. However, Chinese sources identify the form as a lamp (deng) or a censer (xianglu). It is thought they were filled with fragrant wood or other aromatic materials, such vessels occasionally appear in the hands of people paying homage to the Buddha in Song paintings. They occur in many Song tombs and indeed the present example has rust stains to the unglazed base, suggesting burial.


In good condition, a stained glaze crack to the waisted area of the stem and another underneath the top flange where it meets the body.
Height 10.8 cm (4 1/4 inches).
An old ink inscription to the inside of the foot. From a Private London Collection of Early Chinese Ceramics, formed between c.1970-1990.
Stock number
For a very similar Northern Song Cizhou lamp which even has the same type of burial stains to the biscuit body see : Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection Volume 1 (Regina Krahl, Azimuth Editions, 1994) page 261 plate 476. For another similar example dated to the end of the 11th or early 12th century attributed to the Guantai kilns, Hebei province see : Freedom of Clay and Brush through Seven Centuries in Northern China ; Tz'u-chou Type Wares 960-1600 ( Yutaka Mino, Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-25575-6) figure 52, page 72.