Incense Bowl

This heavy, well-made incense bowl is inscribed with the names of its donors, its manufacturer and the date it was made – 1904. Now in the Hill End Museum it was presumably donated to the temple in nearby Tambaroora. While 1904 would seem to be late in the history of Tambaroora’s Chinese community in the sense that its wealthiest time had past, a new donation might have been made by those grateful for past blessings.

This item came to the collection through Lindsay Kimm – who was not in fact Chinese himself but whose mother had married a Chinese man and so was consequently brought up with Chinese half-brothers. Other items in the Hill End collection include a gravestone, a possibly mis-identified Guan Di, and a herbal medicine grinder (also mislabelled).

The Tambaroora Chinese Temple is one of several in the Hill End – Sofala – Bathurst district that gradually disappeared and whose objects have also disappeared or found their way into various private and sometimes public collections; collections where their purpose and origins are not always clear. Tasmania’s QVMAG undoubtedly holds the best collection of Chinese temple objects in Australia thanks to the efforts of the local Chinese community which donated the remaining objects from five Tasmanian temples in 1936.