Unknown Artist, ‘Gilt Silver Case in the Shape of a Tortoise’, Art Museum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong

This object is an offering made by Emperor Xizong and is simply referred to as the “tortoise” in Yiwuzhang(the inventory). Some believe it is a container for tea powders. However, the hole at the mouth of the tortoise suggests it is probably an incense burner. The image of smoke coming out of the mouth of a tortoise is found on a incense burner also unearthed from Famensi. In 1990, a tortoise case was found among the Tang-dynasty silver hoard in Fanzhi county, Shanxi province, which probably has a similar function. The body of the tortoise is hammered and connected to the head and tail by welding.

About Unknown Artist