• For the Enjoyment of Scholars: auction at Christies

    Sale 2391

    For the Enjoyment of Scholars: Selections from the Robert H. Blumenfield Collection

    25 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 906

    A RARE RHINOCEROS HORN MOUNTAIN-FORM BRUSH REST

    18TH/19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE RHINOCEROS HORN MOUNTAIN-FORM BRUSH REST
    18TH/19TH CENTURY
    Well carved as a mountainous landscape incorporating figures in a mountain retreat on one side, and a figure riding a water buffalo on the reverse
    5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm.) long


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    It is very rare to find a brush rest of this type carved from rhinoceros horn. Stylistically this brush rest is similar to those carved from bamboo, such as the example illustrated by S. Kwan, Ming and Qing Bamboo, University Museum and Gallery, The University of Hong Kong, 2000, no. 147, which is dated 19th century and has a dark patina.

    The very dark color of this brush rest seems to reflect a new fashion for dying rhinoceros horn carvings a rich, matte black, which appeared during the 18th and 19th centuries. According to J. Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 62, some of the sources of this black dye were pine soot and squid ink. One can see in the present carving that the recessed areas are quite matte, while in the raised areas some of the lighter color comes through, most likely from the piece having been handled.

    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 and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.