Byzantine Bronze Hanging Incense Burner

SKU OF.094

400 AD to 600 AD


15″ (38.1cm) high x 4″ (10.2cm) wide




Mediterranean/ Jerusalem

Gallery Location



This bronze vessel was used for burning incense and would have been carried and swung by its chain or suspended from a wall or ceiling. Incense was introduced into the Christian liturgy after the reign of Constantine the Great (306 -337), following the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Open censers such as this one represent an early form and appear in Early Byzantine mosaics, for example those of S.Vitale in Ravenna. The censer is hexagonal in form with a design of concentric lathe-turned circles on each of the six sides. The lip is wide and flat and the vessel rests on three slightly flared legs. Suspension loops connect the three chains to a single fastening, above which is a cross. Although the use of censers was not confined to ecclesiastical settings, the presence of the cross suggests that this was its original function. – (OF.094)

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