18th century Carved around the exterior with stylised magnolia blossoms with openwork curling branches, the horn with an attractive honey-brown tone turning darker at the foot. 6.7cm (2½in) high
Provenance: given to the present owner by an English private collector in Devon
The United Kingdom Government has imposed an almost complete prohibition on granting a license to permit the export of worked antique rhinoceros horn from the UK to any destination outside the European Union. Please check with the department for further details.
In China, the magnolia is a symbol of feminine beauty and charm, and is a popular subject for rhinoceros horn as its trumpet-shaped flowers lend themselves to the restrictions of the natural shape of the horn. A related cup from the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, is illustrated by J.Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, pp.166-167. Compare also a similar 'magnolia' cup which was sold in these rooms, 10 November 2011, lot 439.