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    Sale 2610

    Important Chinese Rhinoceros Horn Carvings from the Songzhutang Collection

    27 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1707

    A FINELY CARVED RHINOCEROS HORN 'THREE FRIENDS' LIBATION CUP

    Price Realised  

    A FINELY CARVED RHINOCEROS HORN 'THREE FRIENDS' LIBATION CUP
    MING DYNASTY, 17TH CENTURY

    The large irregular-shaped cup exceptionally well carved in high relief around the sides with a waterfall cascading from rocky outcrops above through a tree-strewn landscape, with mature trees variously issuing prunus blossoms, pine clusters, and leafy bamboo stalks continuing over the rim to the interior of the cup, the handle formed by the stout branches of a pine tree growing up one side, the other end carved in relief on the rockwork below the spout with a brief inscription ending with the square seal mark Wan, meaning 'An object for pleasure', the material of a rich walnut tone
    5¾ in. (14.5 cm.) across, wood stand, box
    Weight: 10.7 oz. (305 gm.)


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    Previously sold at Christie's Paris, 15 June 2005, lot 231.

    The inscription can be translated as follows:

    Upright and clean despite the wind and frost,
    Carving through the cloudy sky, pure and luxurious.


    The Three Friends of Winter, 'pine, prunus, and bamboo', flourish even under adverse conditions and are a common subject in Chinese painting, calligraphy and works of art. Together they are symbolic of longevity, perseverance and the virtues of the scholar-gentleman.

    The unusually simple and tranquil subject matter of the carving on the cup, absent of any superfluous figures, is extremely well-executed and would have made this an ideal object for contemplation on the scholar's desk.

    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.