Gilded Five-Foot Silver Sandalwood Burner

 Gilded Five-Foot Silver Sandalwood Burner

Tang Dynasty
Height: 48cm

This sandalwood burner was unearthed in 1987 together with Sakyamuni's finger bones from the underground palace of Famen (Dharma Gate) Temple in Fufeng County, Shaanxi Province, China. Being 48cm in height, it is a royal gold-silver ware of the Tang Dynasty and is now preserved in the Museum of Femen Temple.

The sandalwood burner was molded by metal plate, with its patterns decorated with gold. It consists of a burner cover, stack, feet and other parts. The bottom rim of the cover is decorated with a circle of patterns of lotus petals and the upper part of it is carved with five lotuses and enlaced tendrils. On each lotus lies a tortoise holding flowers or grass in its mouth and turning back its head. The burner has five beast feet, the front parts of which are of unicorn shape. The inscription on the burner indicate that it was made in 869A.D by the Crafts Institute, an imperial workshop specialized in fabricating gold and silver ware for the imperial family. Featured with exquisite design and sophisticated craft, this burner represents the top-level fabrication craft of gold and silver ware at that time. It is of great value in both scientific research and appreciation.