Incense burner, posibly Persian, c 1701-1850.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An enamelled and gilded incense burner, with a cup supported in a gimbal. The burning of incense dates back to ancient times. It was believed that some types of incense, particularly frankincense and myrrh, had medicinal value. They would either be burned so that the patient could benefit from inhaling the healing smoke, or applied as an ointment.