• 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 871

    A RARE RHINOCEROS HORN STEM CUP

    17TH/18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE RHINOCEROS HORN STEM CUP
    17TH/18TH CENTURY
    The thinly carved bowl with semi-translucent sides raised on a spreading pedestal foot encircled by a bow-string band near the top
    3 3/8 in. (8.5 cm.) high


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    The shape of this stem cup with a single bow-string band around the foot may be based on prototypes of Tang date made from silver or other materials. It is a rare shape to find made from rhinoceros horn, but a few related stem cups have been published. One with five double and triple bow-string bands encircling the stem foot in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is illustrated by J. Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 92, no. 73, where another with plain stem and cover in the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, is also published, no. 74. See, also, the two stem cups illustrated by T. Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, 1999, no. 52, from the author's collection, with a single rib around the stem, dated to the 15th century; and no. 61 from the collection of the Harvard University Art Museums, with plain stem and dated to the 16th century. The translucency of the plain thin sides of these and the present cup allow the beauty of the horn to be shown to great advantage.

    Provenance

    Acquired in New York, 1988.


    Exhibited

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1997 - 2007.