A finely carved rhinoceros horn 'chilong' libation cup 17th century

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Lot 1Y
A finely carved rhinoceros horn 'chilong' libation cup
17th century

Sold for £ 68,750 (US$ 81,664) inc. premium
A finely carved rhinoceros horn 'chilong' libation cup
17th century
The elegantly proportioned vessel, raised on a slightly recessed foot, well carved in high relief with five writhing chi-dragons clambering around the sides of the vessel decorated in low relief with a border of archaistic taotie masks divided by a curling flange on one side, the other side flanked by a curving double-strap handle, all below a border of whorl-circle medallions and above a band of ruyi-head lappets, the horn of dark caramel-brown tone. 13cm (5 1/8in) long.

Footnotes

  • The Property of a Gentleman 士紳藏品

    十七世紀 犀角雕螭龍倣古觥形盃

    Provenance: The Francqui Collection, Holland, from the 1920s, by repute
    Gisèle Croës Arts D'Extreme Orient, Brussels, 2010
    Jean-Yves Ollivier Collection

    來源:據傳自1920年為荷蘭Francqui收藏
    布魯塞爾古董商吉賽爾藝廊,2010年
    歐宗易先生珍藏

    The present lot is a testament to the exceptional craftsmanship of rhinoceros horn carving achieved in the late Ming to the early Qing dynasty. The archaistic decoration of taotie masks, chilong, and florettes was adopted from ancient bronzes, reflecting the late Ming and early Qing trend of 'evidential scholarship' (kaoju xue 考據學) not only drawing from ancient texts, but also archaeology and inscriptions on archaic bronzes, as scholars sought an empirical approach to understanding their ancient heritage. This interest influenced craftmanship as evident in the present lot. Similar whorl-circle medallions can be found on a bronze lei, 12th-11th century BC, illustrated by R.Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M.Sackler Collections, Cambridge MA, 1987, pp.424-425, no.76.

    Compare with a related but larger rhinoceros horn libation cup, 17th century, carved with archaistic taotie masks and with chilong, illustrated by J.Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p.140, pl.158.

    See a related rhinoceros horn archaistic 'chilong' libation cup, 17th/18th century, which was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, 29 May 2018, lot 52.

    盃圓口,流凸起, 流口雕交花,口沿另外三面各雕三螭龍窺探盃內,雙柄,盃口沿下雕回紋一周,其下三面雕旋火紋,盃身四面正中雕饕餮紋,雷紋為地,左右兩面各雕高浮雕螭龍一隻,正面正中出齒棱,再下淺浮雕如意雲紋,盃身向下斜收於外撇之圈足,足緣雕雷紋一周。

    此拍品為明末清初犀角雕之卓越代表。饕餮紋、螭龍紋、雷紋及回紋等高古紋飾源自早期青銅器。明末以來,考據學繼宋代之後又達一個高峰, 學者們不僅著力於高古銅器的銘文和考釋,更試圖以實證方法追溯三代以來的傳承。此拍品便是這一風氣影響的實例。類似的旋火紋廣見於商代青銅器,如R.Bagley著, 《Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M.Sackler Collections(賽克勒藏商代禮器)》,麻省劍橋,1987年,頁424-425,編號76。

    可參考一件定為十七世紀的犀角觥形盃,較本拍品略大,亦雕饕餮紋和螭龍,見J.Chapman著,《The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China(中國犀角雕藝術)》,倫敦,1999年,頁140,圖版158;另有一相似犀角盃可資參考,見霍滿棠著,《中國犀角雕刻珍賞》,香港,1999年,頁75,編號28。相關他例可比較一隻雕螭龍的犀角盃,定為十七或十八世紀,2018年5月29日售於香港邦瀚斯,拍品52號。
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A finely carved rhinoceros horn 'chilong' libation cup 17th century
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