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    Sale 2610

    Important Chinese Rhinoceros Horn Carvings from the Songzhutang Collection

    27 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1703

    A FINELY CARVED LOTUS-LEAF RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A FINELY CARVED LOTUS-LEAF RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP
    MING DYNASTY, 17TH CENTURY

    Finely carved as a lotus leaf with an infurled undulating rim and characteristic veining running down the interior and exterior of the cup, supported on knotty stem with sprouting blooms and lotus pods, the intertwined lotus stems at one end forming the handle, the interior carved in high relief with a large crab holding a stalk of rice and millet in its pincers, a praying mantis lurking among the reeds to one side near the handle, the horn of an attractive reddish caramel tone
    5 3/4in. (14.5 cm.) across, wood stand, box
    Weight: 7.4 oz. (211 gm.)


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    The lotus, one of the Eight Treasures of Buddhism is symbolic of purity and became one of the most popular themes in Rhinoceros horn carving.

    The inclusion of a large crab to the interior is also a fairly common theme. The stalk of rice. he held in its pincers is homonymous in Chinese with the word for 'harmony' and together with the crab, xie and the grain, sui, they form the rebus suisui hexie, 'may you have a harmonious marriage year after year'. The theme is further discussed by J. Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 188.

    Compare the present cup with one in the Chester Beatty Library Collection, illustrated by J. Chapman, Ibid, p.166, fig. 207.

    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.


    Exhibited

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