• 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 827

    A RARE RHINOCEROS HORN TRIPOD CUP

    16TH/17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE RHINOCEROS HORN TRIPOD CUP
    16TH/17TH CENTURY
    In the form of a large magnolia blossom carved around the sides with another blossom and lingzhi rising from two of the legs, the third leg a magnolia bud
    4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm.) across, box


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    Rhinoceros horn cups of this type were made by cutting the narrow tip of the horn and then pulling it apart after the horn had been made pliable through soaking. The legs are then curved outwards so that the cup can stand securely.
    The present cup is raised on three legs that are integral to the stems and branches of the lingzhi and magnolia carved around the sides. This same naturalistic continuation of the legs into the decoration carved on the sides can be seen on a three-legged cup in the Qing Court collection illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 44 - Bamboo, Wood, Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Carvings, Hong Kong, 2002, no. 108, which is carved with a leaf-tied lotus stem and water plants, and mallow. (Fig. 1) See, also, the very similar cup from the Du Breuil Collection, sold in our London rooms, 19 June 2001, lot 154.

    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.


    Provenance

    Th. Van Veen Collection.