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Mountain-Shaped Incense Burner (Boshan Xianglu)

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.


Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220), 1st century B.C./A.D.



About this artwork

During the Han dynasty, fantastical beliefs in immortality and exotic lands inspired the earliest three-dimensional landscapes. The conical lid of this incense burner, shaped like towering peaks, is associated with the mountainous Isles of the Blessed. These islands were described as the realm of immortal beings (xian) in the myth, superstition, and magic widespread in Han Dynasty Religion. Fragrant smoke wafting through holes in the lid of this incense burner would evoke such a mist-shrouded utopia.


On View, Gallery 133


Arts of Asia


Mountain-Shaped Incense Burner (Boshan Xianglu)


China (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

99 BCE–99 CE




21.3 × 19.4 cm (8 3/8 × 7 1/8 in.); Diam.: 19.4 cm (7 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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