The decorative style of the present censer is closely related to an early example of a parcel-gilt recumbent Buddhist lion inlaid with hardstones, dated to the 15th-16th centuries, formerly from the Salting Bequest now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, illustrated by R. Kerr, Later Chinese Bronzes, London, 1990, p. 88, no. 72. An earlier prototype might be a turquoise and hardstone inlaid gilt-bronze mythical beast from the Eastern Zhou period, illustrated in Zhongguo Meishu Quanji, wenwu chubanshe, 1986, pl. 242.
Compare also with hardstone-embellished gilt-bronze censers of this same form, dated to the 18th century: the first of these from the Herbert R. Bishop Collection, sold in our London Rooms, 15 June 1999, lot 105; another sold in these Rooms, 30 April 2000, lot 564; and the censer in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, included in the Special Exhibition of Incense Burner and Perfumers Throughout the Dynasties, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 119. A pair of related gilt-bronze censers inlaid with turquoise carvings in the Shenyang Palace Museum, is illustrated by R. L. Thorp, Son of Heaven, Imperial Arts in China, Seattle, 1988, no. 33.