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This very unusual incense burner is from either western Tibet or Leh in adjacent Ladakh, Himalayan India. It is of high-grade, solid silver.
It stands on four flared feet and has solid-cast dragons on each side. It is engraved all over with leaf motifs and Himalayan scrolling, and has four applied panels of Manjushri (identified by his brandishing a sword) and another Tibetan-Buddhist deity.
It is heavy for its size – the silver content was not economised on when this piece was made.
Most probably it was made for a household altar although local silversmiths were also commissioned by patrons of local Tibetan monasteries in Leh to make silver objects which were then donated to the monasteries. It would have been filled with sand and then incense sticks would have been stood in the stand and burned.
The vessel is in excellent condition.
Lama, M.N., Ritual Objects & Deities: An Iconography on Buddhism & Hinduism, Lama Art, 2003.
Saraf, D.N., Arts and Crafts Jammu and Kashmir: Land, People, Culture, Abhinav Publications, 1987.