Gold-inlaid incense burner with cord-shaped ears and Persian inscription

The Reign of Jingtai, Ming Dynasty
Height: 13.5 cm, Rim Diameter: 17.8 cm
Collected in the Capital Museum

This vessel has a wide mouth with a broad right-angled edge, a short contracted neck, cord-shaped upright ears, a round shoulder, a bulging belly and three short legs with shallow crotches. Gold-inlaid patterns are applied on the rim, the neck, the shoulder and the belly. The mouth rim is decorated with a continuous square spiral pattern. Around the neck are eight round floral designs. On the shoulder there is a circle of Persian characters, which are epigrams saying to the effect that one should treasure his life and spend it worshipping Allah and learning the essence of life. The belly is adorned with patterns of passionflowers and interlocking Ganoderma. The year in which it was made, 885 in the Muslim calendar (1450 AD, or the first year of Jingtai in Ming Dynasty), is inscribed at the bottom in gold within double rings. With a graceful design and fine workmanship, this incense burner is a rarity that integrates Han and Muslim artistic styles.