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Chinese stoneware incense burner, Zhengzhou kilns (Swatow ware), decorated in underglaze cobalt blue (qinghua), mid-Ming dynasty.

Stock Number: 5108

Very rare Chinese export stoneware incense burner for the Asian market, Zhengzhou kilns (Swatow ware), decorated in underglaze cobalt blue (qinghua) with a standing lady on one side and a landscape on the other and two sides with long inscriptions separating them, c. 1550, Ming dynasty, h. 10,5 cm, 4¼ in. Bespoke box. 1-18352

Translator’s notes (□ =blank):

The Chinese characters on the incense burner from image 1 to 2, right to left:

Image 1

line on the right: 千□百日在書房

line on the left: 八月冬秋□科長

Image 2

line on the right: 五馬□□中狀元

line in the middle: 月到十五光明少

line on the left:□虎相□□□□

The inscriptions are most likely encouraging words for Chinese scholars, telling them to seize the days and achieve high scores at the imperial examination.