A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn incised libation cup 17th century
Lot 122 Y
A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn incised libation cup
17th century
Sold for HK$ 1,060,000 (US$ 136,562) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn incised libation cup 17th century
A rare archaistic rhinoceros horn incised libation cup
17th century
Of elegantly carved tapered form with canted corners at the rim, the handle formed by four sinuous chi dragons, decorated on the exterior with a wide band of archaistic taotie masks on a geometric ground, interrupted by two further chi dragons in high relief, between narrow key-fret borders at the rim and foot, the horn of a rich and dark brown tone, incised two-character yuan xi inscription on the interior. 16.8cm wide.

Footnotes

  • 十七世紀 犀角雕螭龍饕餮紋杯 「元虛」款

    Provenance 來源:
    A distinguished private collection

    The archaic inspiration, based on the decoration of ritual bronze vessels, for this libation cup is emphasised by the stylised taotie and leiwen ground of the decorative bands. The form of the present lot was probably also inspired by archaic jue or yi ritual bronze vessels. These archaistic elements contrast with the lively chi dragons entwining to form the handle. Chi dragons, or chilong, allow the carver to exhibit his extraordinary skill and superb craftsmanship.

    Compare the form and canted mouth rim with a rhinoceros horn libation cup illustrated in Bamboo, Wood and Ivory Carvings. The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2002, Vol.44, p.152, no.134. Other examples of rhinoceros horns carved with combinations of archaistic motifs are discussed and illustrated by Jan Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, pp.147-155. An example of similar shape and also carved with a chi dragon handle is illustrated by Thomas Fok in Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, no.13.

    Several examples of rhinoceros horn libation cups with archaistic decoration have been sold at auction. Compare a cup dated to the Qianlong period sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 May 2008, lot 1719; and another 17th/18th century cup was sold in our London rooms, 10 November 2011, lot 433.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% up to HKD800,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from HKD800,001 to HKD15,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% over HKD15,000,000 of the Hammer Price.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Y CITES

Subject to CITES regulations when exporting items outside of the EU, see clause 13.

Contacts
  1. Xibo Wang
    Specialist - Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 3607 0010
  2. John Chong
    Specialist - Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 3607 0015
Similar Items