The art of making beautiful stone into vessels has been developed since ancient times in China. During the Qing dynasty, a large influx of nephrite produced in the northwestern Xinjiang region of China, and jade from Myanmar caused the stone crafting industry to flourish.
This work is an incense burner carved from jade. It has a lid and a main body, with three legs attached. The handle on the lid is in the shape of beasts at play, and the attachments for the rings on the side and the attachment points for the legs are in the shape of the face of a beast as well. If you look closely you can just make out a face carved into the lid and the body of the vessel. This is the face of a taotie, a type of monster in ancient China. Judging from these details, it seems that the shape of this work was based on ancient Chinese bronzeware. It was during the reign of the sixth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong, that jade from Myanmar was brought into China. Jade is especially hard, and difficult to work with. This piece shows an impressive command of sophisticated technique, and the complex shape of the vessel is brilliantly executed. The marbled green coloring of the work is exceptionally beautiful, giving it the dignified grace of a stone vessel from the Qing Dynasty.