This Western Han (206BC-9AD) censer is of a type known as boshanlu or ‘mountain censer’ modelled as a range of overlapping mountain peaks, their form represented the idyllic realm of the Immortals.
Boshanlu in both glazed and unglazed pottery are relatively common, but this example, which will be offered by Ben Janssens Oriental Art during Asian Art in London, is highly unusual due to its vivid decoration.
Standing 9in (23cm) high, it is painted in purple, red, black and orange pigments with a scene of two hunters on horseback chasing a wild boar and two deer. One beast turns its head around to glance back at the hunter. Each mountain peak is painted with a single tree.
A sumptuous prototype for this pottery incense burner, inlaid in gold, is in the Hebei Provincial Museum while an unglazed ‘boshanlu’ moulded with hunting scenes in high relief is in the Julius Eberhardt collection in Vienna.
Ben Janssens’ exhibition titled Animals and Flowers runs at M&L Fine Art at 15 Old Bond Street from November 2-10.