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    Sale 2610

    Important Chinese Rhinoceros Horn Carvings from the Songzhutang Collection

    27 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1723

    A FINELY CARVED ARCHAISTIC RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP

    Price Realised  

    A FINELY CARVED ARCHAISTIC RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP
    MING DYNASTY, 17TH CENTURY

    The slightly lobed, flared hexagonal body well carved in shallow relief with a narrow band of interlaced dragons, above another wider band of taotie masks, further intricately decorated in high relief at one end with five entwined sinuous chi dragons of different sizes forming the handle, with bands of keyfret below and encircling the flattened rim, the whole raised on a separate lobed, splayed base carved with a band of undulating lotus scroll, the material ranging from a rich golden brown to walnut tone
    7 1/8 in. (18 cm.) across, wood stand, box
    Weight: 11.3 oz. (321 gm.)


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    The combination of archaistic decoration and numerous high relief chilong appears to have been popular with carvers of rhinoceros horn cups. It was the contrast of the sinuous bodies and muscular movement of the dragons to the underlying formalized design of the archaistic bands that made it so attractive to their imaginations and talents.

    Several cups of this type of decoration are illustrated by T. Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, 1999, nos. 4, 9, 15, 19, 20, 22, 26 and 41. Another from the collection of the late Dr. Ip Yee is illustrated by J. Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 130, no. 135. A very similar cup without the tall splayed base and lacking the additional carved band to the upper body was sold at Christie's New York, 19 Spetember 2007, lot 9.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory, tortoiseshell and crocodile. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.


    Provenance

    The Fowler Museum Collection, California


    Literature

    T. Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 72, no. 25


    Exhibited

    Hong Kong Museum of Art, Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth: Gems of Antiquities Collection in Hong Kong, 2002-2005