Earth Beneath Our Feet: Incense Burner #3

  • Harlan W. Butt, Earth Beneath Our Feet: Incense Burner #3, 2000, silver, brass, enamel, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Midwest Enamelist Guild, 2000.45A-B

Luce Center Label

This incense burner, or censer, depicts a dramatic moment in a small corner of nature. An incantation on the edge of the lid reads "devour, transformation, metamorphosis." It refers to the fate of the frog about to be taken by the snake in an act that will transform both creatures. The rich enameling on the body of the censer replicates the hypnotic array of scales on the snake's skin, and calls our attention to the beautiful and the terrifying in nature's cycles.

Luce Object Quote
"The tops of my recent vessels are a stage to spotlight scenes from nature. These often depict both its beauty and harshness." Artist's statement
Earth Beneath Our Feet: Incense Burner #3
On View
Not on view.
4 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (11.1 x 16.7 cm) diam.
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the Midwest Enamelist Guild

  • Landscape – plant – water lily
  • Animal – reptile – snake
  • Animal – amphibian – frog
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI