Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Censer with Scenes from the Life of Christ

Censers were used to burn and dispense incense. They were employed in many contexts in the ancient world, but this censer proclaims its use as a part of Christian liturgical ritual by depicting major scenes from the life of Christ. Eight events from the Annunciation to the Resurrection are referenced; these separate narratives merge together in a crowded, abstracted manner, but the subject matter would have been easily recognized by those familiar with these stories. The style is a good example of the organic and exuberant nature of Coptic art in Egypt.

Coptic (Egypt)
Censer with Scenes from the Life of Christ
5th–6th century AD
H. (censer) 5 5/16 in. (13.49 cm), diam. 5 7/64 in. (12.98 cm), L. (chains) 16 5/32 in. (41.04 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 79.31