Incense Burner and Stand for an Altar Cross

Incense Burner and Stand for an Altar Cross


Bronze: cast, gilded, engraved, and chased

Overall: 18.1 x 12.7 cm (7 1/8 x 5 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1926.555


Supported by dragon-shaped feet on its corners, this unusual object is fashioned like a small, centralized church with gabled roofs, a lantern crowned by a turret, and four semi-circular apses. Traces of soot on the interior walls of a nearly identical object in the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin indicate that these objects once served as incense burners. The objects’ design with an open turret in the center of the roof further suggests that they may have doubled as stands for altar crosses. The fact that both objects formerly belonged to the Bouvier Collection in Amiens may be taken as an indication that they were made as a pair in the same 12th-century workshop.

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