CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—An 18th-century Chinese incense container that disappeared from a Harvard art museum 35 years ago has been returned.

Ernest Dane, a businessman and art collector who graduated from Harvard University in 1892, and his wife donated the Qing Dynasty jade censer to the Fogg Museum in 1942.

In 1979, the museum opened a small exhibition featuring a selection of jades the Danes had donated, including the censer. On Nov. 26, 1979, Harvard discovered the censer was missing from its display case.

Museum officials contacted law enforcement authorities, but the censer wasn't found until 2009, when it was listed for auction in Hong Kong by Sotheby's.

A transfer ceremony was held Tuesday at Harvard with officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Harvard Art Museums.