[National Treasure] Bronze Incense Burner
Name: Bronze Incense Burner with Inscription of "Heungwangsa Temple" and Silver-inlaid Design
Period: Goryeo (918-1392)
Location: Yongsan District, central Seoul
Status: National Treasure No. 214
This normal bronze incense burner was in fashion during the Goryeo (918-1392) period. It is 40.1 centimeters (1.32 feet) tall and 30 centimeters in diameter. It is comprised of three parts: coater, body and lip.
The lip has a wide, horizontal, flat deck. The deck has bead patterns, engraved patterns of lotus flowers and creepers and silver plating. The body was carved into the window in the shape of a flower at a balanced position. Silver gilding representing the forms of a dragon and phoenix are inside the window, while the rest of the space is filled with the engravings of reeds and lotuses and a duck carved just below a wild goose.
The edge of the coaster was at first simple with two thick lines and then it was washed with silver. Because these patterns were washed with silver, this burner is regarded as one of the great masterpieces for having not only the specialty of being a manufactured article, a great piece of porcelain, but also a beautifully well-crafted work for its pictures. Furthermore, the bottom of the coaster still remains in fine condition.
There are 34 Chinese characters on the bottom of the coaster, revealing the date of production (1289, the 15th year of King Chungnyeol) as well as where it was kept (Heungwangsa Temple). The exact date of production, the mastery of silver gilding and the dragon and phoenix patterns that were not used often at the time further add historic and artistic value to this piece of work.
The photos and text for National Treasure are provided by the Cultural Heritage Administration. For more information, call (042) 481-4650 or visit www.cha.go.kr
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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