Byzantine bronze censer, 600 A.D.

This piece is a circular-shaped censer with the whole perimeter surrounded by a decorative band. It hangs by means of three bronze suspensions attached to a hook, which would allow it to be kept hanging in movement or in a static way to participate in some cult activity. The fact that the piece is made of bronze makes it a piece linked to worship or a ritual activity, since the censers for daily use were made of terracotta or ceramic. Incense, gum or resin extracted from trees, was highly appreciated in ancient cultures, since in addition to purifying the environment and providing a good smell, it was intended for ritual use. It was thought that incense helped the initiated in their connection with the beyond, as well as to please the gods when prayers were performed. The fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century resulted in the ruin of the ancient world. However, Christianity was the driving force behind the continuity and evolution of the West in the Middle Ages, albeit slowly. Paleochristian art served as a bridge between classical and Christian culture to create a new art. It is an art that lives in its beginnings hidden, in many occasions persecuted. The followers of the new religion stimulated the appearance and extension of another iconography. Although to represent the beliefs and stories of their faith they often resorted to pre-existing visual prototypes, there is no doubt that the spirit that animated the visual creations of Christianity was beginning to be very different from the old polytheism.


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