This burner, in the shape of a temple oil lamp, has a removable pierced lid that matches the bottom, and has a beautiful translucent, celadon green glaze. Unsigned. Age: 1920s-1930s. Dimensions: 2-1/4″w x 2-1/2″h
No other home or temple accessory has quite the same spiritual function as incense burners, (kōro), in the Japanese culture. Incense wafting from the holes in the lid helps to clear the mind, making participants more attuned to the tranquility inside their sacred space.
Incense burners such as this one were usually placed in the alcove, (tokonoma), of a room both to scent the space and to act as a decorative piece of art. They were also used during the tea ceremony by burning traditional cone incense or wood chips, or ‘Pressed Incense’, (In-koh).
It seems that the beginning of Koh, (incense) in Japan dates from the same period as the arrival of Buddhism to Japan. “Nihon Shoki,”the first Japanese history book, states that in 595AD, a sizeable chunk of Agarwood drifted ashore at Awaji Island. When the island’s inhabitants burned the chunk, they noticed a wonderful new aroma. The locals presented the wondrous wood to the imperial court, thus beginning the age of incense for countless personal and public ceremonies.
Incense burners vary greatly in size, form, and material of construction. This incense burner would have contained fine ash on top of which incense would have been burned. The delicate smoke of the burning incense would come through the three holes on the cover. The incense used would have provided a seasonal reference, along with other items displayed in the alcove, such as flowers, a scroll, or calligraphy.
Excellent Condition- In unused, or like-unused condition. No visual or structural or surface wear or damage shown. Pristine. As good as the day it was made.
Great Condition- Appears in slightly used condition but looks "Like New". Some minor wear, but retains the original craft/workmanship. May show minor wear, that does not affect the main design, or associated motif. No cracks, dents, chips or missing elements.
Good Condition- Minor wear which can be restored or repaired; may have surface flaws, like staining or soiling, confined to a small area. The flaw(s) are counterbalanced by another feature, like brilliant color or innovative design. Some fading or the piece may have been altered in some fashion.
Fair Condition- Main aesthetic/design showing damage. Excessive noticeable wear or damage. Worth buying if can be restored/repaired because of its aesthetic or design appeal or rarity. Note: wear/damage consistent with age/use can often enhance the 'Antique' qualities of a piece, giving it a desirable second chance in one's collection