A very rare rhinoceros horn inscribed libation cup 17th century, signed by
Lot 75Y
A very rare rhinoceros horn signed libation cup Late Ming Dynasty, signed by Shenyi Ru
Sold for £108,000 (US$ 174,309) inc. premium

Lot Details
A very rare rhinoceros horn inscribed libation cup 17th century, signed by A very rare rhinoceros horn inscribed libation cup 17th century, signed by A very rare rhinoceros horn inscribed libation cup 17th century, signed by
A very rare rhinoceros horn signed libation cup
Late Ming Dynasty, signed by Shenyi Ru
Finely carved from a tapering section of horn with a large fierce eagle perched on the back of a mythical beast, the hollowed cavity of the cup set in the back of the bird, with its crisply incised wings and feathery tail forming the walls of the vessel, the bird's head at the top of the vessel with bulging eyes and turned in profile towards its right unveiling its feathery nape and clasping in its beak a long lotus spray, the claws powerfully poised over the back of the recumbent mythical beast forming the foot of the vessel, with bulging eyes and its jaws gaping widely in distress, incised Shenyi Ruzhi in archaic script above the left claw (chips to extremities, rim chip repaired).
13cm (5in) high.

Footnotes

  • The inspiration for such design, combining a large eagle above a feline bear, is drawn from archaic bronze vessels, from as early as the Western Han Dynasty.
    Vessels of this type are usually called 'hero' or 'champion' vases, which is a translation of the Chinese name 'yingxiong ping' - the eagle (ying) and the bear (xiong), combined, form a rebus for champion or hero.

    This design was widely used in jade and bronze vessels of the 18th century, although the animals were represented in a more archaised fashion and usually combined with tubular vessels.
    It is extremely rare to find a 'champion' rhinoceros horn cup, where the design was concentrated solely on the two beasts.
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Y CITES

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