Ancient bronzes were one of the first things to be collected by the Chinese rulers, and have proved the most enduring items to influence other media in later periods. The Qing dynasty emperors showed an equal passion for ancient bronzes and for ordering contemporary vessels made in ancient style, fanggu (copying the ancient).
The current rhinoceros horn example is directly inspired by these earlier bronze prototypes although it shows the exquisite refinement of the 17th/18th century.
Compare with a polylobed rhinoceros horn gobelet illustrated in J. Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Christie's Book Ltd., 1999, p.93, pl.76.
See also a very similar cup although decorated with a band of lotus scrolls, illustrated in T. Fok, Op. Cit., p.82, pl.35.
Two other libation cups from the Songzhutang collection, showing the same archaistic patterns and chilong handle, were sold in our Hong Kong Rooms, lots 1721 and 1723.