The shape of this censer is clearly based upon ancient bronze vessels. Inspired by the late Shang period, it is more faithful (in spirit) to the archaic style than the 18th century pieces.
The blade-shaped legs, loop handles, flanges along with the motifs of kui dragons and wide spreading taotie masks, all have their prototypes in Shang bronzes.
Curiously there are no archaistic references on the bottom of the censer and on the cover. They are both decorated with 17th century motifs which are the Buddhist lions and the scrolling chrysanthemums. The phoenix and the dragon are also later references and of imperial significances.
The juxtaposition of archaic and contemporary motifs shows that the craftsman felt free to improvise in the decoration of parts which did not exist in the Late Shang original. These additions prevent the work from becoming a lifeless copy of the antique model.
Compare the current censer with another almost identical fangding, dated 17th/18th century, from the Clague Collection, illustrated in C. Brown, Chinese Cloisonné - The Clague Collection, Phoenix Art Museum 1980, pp.84-85, pl.34.
The censers have identical covers and feet (although these latter bear a different motif) and very similar taotie masks on the body.