This shape, borrowed from the ancient bronze li, was produced from the Southern Song into the Yuan period for the domestic as well as the export market. The numerous examples of Longquan tripod censers retrieved from the Sinan shipwreck provide evidence that this shape was much sought after in Japan, the original destination of the ship's cargo, and where they have since been widely collected.
A number of Longquan celadon censers of this shape are published, including several in renowned collections. Examples in the Tokyo National Museum and Percival David Foundation, London, are published in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, Tokyo, 1982, vol. 1, no. 97, and vol. 6, no. 37, respectively. Others include the example in the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, illustrated by Y. Mino and K. Tsiang in Ice and Green Clouds: Traditions of Chinese Celadon, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1986, p. 196, no. 79; one in the Baur Collection, illustrated by J. Ayers, The Baur Collection: Chinese Ceramics, vol. I, Geneva, 1972, no. A99; and the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Sung Dynasty Porcelain, Taipei, 1974, no. 12. See, also, the example of comparable size sold in these rooms, 19 March 2009, lot 706.