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Censer

Chinese incense burner usually made in bronze, jade, pottery, or porcelain. Often shaped like a cauldron on three feet, it is sometimes formed as a fabulous animal or bird. Metal and ceramic censers are known in China from the Eastern Zhou period (770-221 BC). These included openwork bucket-shaped bronzes in which burning aromatic branches or twigs were placed. The use of incense in China may have been stimulated by contact and exchange with non-Chinese people on the southern borders of Siberia, who were known to have inhaled narcotics from basins in which hot stones were placed. Censers were probably used in state rituals, funerals, the cult of immortals, and the enhancement of daily life and for more mundane tasks like masking unpleasant odors. The Japanese equivalent is a koro. See also: Boshanlu censer

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