A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn libation cup 17th/18th century
Lot 433Y
A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn libation cup 17th/18th century
Sold for £109,250 (US$ 181,279) inc. premium
Auction Details
A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn libation cup 17th/18th century A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn libation cup 17th/18th century A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn libation cup 17th/18th century
Lot Details
A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn libation cup
17th/18th century
The tapering horn carved in high relief with an adult chilong and six young forming the handle and sinuously clambering over the side onto the interior, the vessel with a central register enclosing four archaistic confronted phoenix reserved on a leiwen ground between raised bands, all between the rim with a key-fret border and the foot with four bow-string bands, the horn of rich honey-brown tone.
12.7cm (5in) wide

Footnotes

  • Provenance: an English private collection

    The archaic inspiration for this libation cup is emphasised by the stylised phoenix and leiwen ground of the decorative bands, contrasting with the lively chilong entwining to form the handle. Chilong handles are particularly common on libation cups, often clambering and twisting in large groups to make counting them difficult; more exceptionally they are found carved in the interior of the cup also, as in the present piece. Chilong such as these allow the carver to exhibit his own extraordinary skill and craftsmanship. Other examples of rhinoceros horns carved with this combination of archaistic motifs are discussed and illustrated by J.Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, pp.147-155. A related cup from the 17th century is illustrated by T.Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, no.25. A further example, dated to the Qianlong period, was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 May 2008, lot 1719.
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