A champleve enamelled copper incense boat.
Limoges, France, early 13th century.
Measures 17.5cm x 9.5 x 7cm.
A champlevé enamelled copper incense boat, each end is decorated with dragon head terminals. The main body is decorated in champlevé polychrome floral enamels typically found in Romanesque illuminations and architectural elements. The base is engraved with a repeating, cross-hatch frieze. Retains minor traces of its original gilding.
This type of boat-shaped vessel for incense, with swirling foliate enamelling, was first produced in Limoges around the beginning of the thirteenth century. 'Navettes', after the French for 'small ship', often feature small gilt handles in the form of dragons' heads, presumably thought to protect the contents. A similar navette is in the Musée de Cluny in Paris (inv. no. 11157).
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