Compare a similar example applied with additional lion-mask decoration on each of the tripod legs, illustrated in The Shanghai Museum of Art, Cultural Relics Publishing House, Beijing, no. 210. Cf. three other comparable early Ming examples with covers, the first from the Kitson Collection in the British Museum, illustrated by Garner, Chinese and Japanese Cloisonne Enamels, pls. 17A and 19A; from the Pierre Uldry Collection, illustrated by Brinker and Lutz, Chinese Cloisonne, pls. 13 and 15; and another sold in our New York Rooms, 2 June 1989, lot 350.
The shape of the present tripod censer is influenced by the archaic ritual bronze ding of the Eastern Zhou dynasty and replicated in ceramic form, popular during the Ming dynasty. Compare the squat rounded body and upright flanges with the features on the inlaid decorated example in the O. C. S. Hong Kong exhibition Ancient Chinese and Ordos Bronzes, 1990, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 41. For a closely related porcelain censer with the pattern decorated in iron-red enamel in the Hebei Province Museum, see Zhongguo Wenwu Jinghua Daquan, Hong Kong, 1993, p. 383, no. 728.