A rare copper censer

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Limoges, France
13th century
Copper, Enamelling technique Champlevé
20 cm
13 cm

Catalogue des Sculptures, Tableaux, Tapis etc. formant de la collection d'objets d'art du Musée van Stolk, La Haye, Martinus Nijhoff, 1912. P. 85, no. 450.

The copper censer decorated with emaille champléve.

A censer is used to burn incense. Incense has been used since ancient times to symbolise the prayers of the faithful rising to God. It is placed on hot charcoal in the bowl of the censer, and as the censer is swung to and fro, the smoke billows outwards and upwards to perfume the whole church.

Medieval theologians attached a high symbolic importance to censers. In the 9th century Amalarius of Metz (a liturgical writer) considered that the censer is the body of Christ, the burning incense inside it is the Holy Sprit and the fragrance represents the good works of Christ.

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