Long before the days of Saje diffusers and modern incense burners..there were these beauties! Chinese incense burners are pieces of art themselves and tend to stand out among any collection! Not only do they have a rich history and details for days.. but they also have a practical use. Win's all around!
Incense in China are used in a wide range of cultural activities - religious ceremonies, traditional medicine, and in everyday use - much like we use them in Western culture. Xiang the Chinese word for 'fragrance' is believed to have long standing improvements on physiological and psychological benefits. What we would call that little mood boost you get from smelling that comforting and calming scent!
We fell in love with the above incense burner immediately..not only does it have our favorite blue and white ceramic detailing but it also has beautiful sterling silver detailing. A lion is featured among two dragons on each side of the traditional burner. In Chinese culture, guardian lions are referred to in various ways depending on context, but they are most often referred to as Shi - spreading protection to the household it finds itself in. While the Chinese dragons symbolize potent and auspicious powers, strength and good luck for people who are worthy of it.
The second little incense burner is also detailed with extensive sterling silver work.. featuring three monkeys on top of burner itself. In Chinese culture, the monkey is considered to be a clever animal and it is usually compared to a smart person. Monkey's referred to as 'Hou' is thereby bestowed with an auspicious meaning as well. Unlike the blue and white ceramic work, this traditional incense burner showcases malachite. Malachite is a stone that promotes a constant flow of energy and is considered a powerful healer - attuned to improve your health and well-being.
We found both of these antique Chinese incense burners at a local antique store. And although, we don't use them for their intended use of burning, we absolutely enjoy adding them to our current collections of ceramics. They standout and elevate our in-home displays and provide us with a rich cultural history that any collector would be lucky enough to have a part of!