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    Sale 2622

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    3 December 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 2525

    AN EXTREMELY RARE RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP

    Price Realised  

    AN EXTREMELY RARE RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP
    MING DYNASTY, 17TH CENTURY

    Finely carved supported on three tall curved feet, the hind foot curving backwards towards the rim to form a long handle carved in the form of a fierce dragon head, the narrow base flaring widely towards the everted rim bordered on both sides by a band of keyfret, encircled around the mid-section by a wide band of taotie masks carved in low relief on a leiwen ground interrupted under the spout by two lively chilong, one grasping at the other's tail, the material of a deep-walnut brown tone
    6 3/8 in. (16.3 cm.) wide


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    Only one other example of this very rare form appears to have been published. A cup with a very similar foot bending to form the dragon-head handle in the Harvard University Art Museum Collection is illustrated by T. Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 86, no. 39.

    As with rhinoceros horn waterdroppers, an example of which, from the Songzhutang Collection was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 May 2008, lot 1716, the tip of the horn would have been steamed or heated in hot water for hours before being sufficiently pliable to be bent backwards to form the handle. For a more detailed explanation of this laborious process, refer to T. Fok, op. cit., Hong Kong, 1999, p. 29.

    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.