• 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 802

    AN EXTREMELY RARE RHINOCEROS HORN CUP

    17TH/18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN EXTREMELY RARE RHINOCEROS HORN CUP
    17TH/18TH CENTURY
    The cup supported by a squatting monkey and finely carved in relief around the sides with two birds in flight amidst the spreading branches of a fruiting and flowering peach tree flanked by lingzhi
    5¾ in. (14.6 cm.) high, box


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    Cups of this type, where the cup is supported by a figure, appear to be very rare. Jan Chapman in The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 73, refers to them as caryatid cups and notes that there are four known examples, of which she illustrates three - the present cup illustrated p. 74, no. 40, and two others with human supports, nos. 39 and 41.
    The finely carved decoration of this cup is also highly symbolic. The monkey (hou) is a pun for a high-ranking noble (hou), and is also a symbol of longevity. Here it is combined with two other symbols of longevity - peaches and lingzhi.

    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.


    Literature

    Jan Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 74, no. 40.