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AN EXQUISITELY CARVED RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP
AN EXQUISITELY CARVED RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP
AN EXQUISITELY CARVED RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP
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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.
THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
AN EXQUISITELY CARVED RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP

QING DYNASTY 17TH/18TH CENTURY

Details
AN EXQUISITELY CARVED RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP QING DYNASTY 17TH/18TH CENTURY The thick irregular sides superbly carved as a tapering knotted hibiscus branches issuing from the exterior to form the handle, growing smaller branches bearing hibiscus flowers enveloping the sides of the cup and extending over to the interior upon which a swallow naturalistically carved in openwork is perched looking upwards grasping a branch that bridges the spout while a second swallow perched on the handle, peers over the side of the rim to the interior, the material of a rich reddish-walnut tone 6 1/2 in. (16.6 cm.) wide
Literature
Jan Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 186, no. 252 (interior)
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.

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Lot Essay

Not only is the subject matter on the present cup extremely rare but the extraordinary three-dimensional carving of the bird to the interior of the cup would appear to be unique. Compare with a cup in the collection of Thomas Fok with a short-tailed bird carved on the interior among branches, illustrated by the owner in Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 140, no. 91.
Although the subject matter on the present cup is rare, a number of cups depicting other short and long-tailed birds are known as well as other examples carved with cockerels, phoenix and cranes are illustrated and discussed by Jan Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, pp. 185-187. A libation cup from the Edward T. Chow and Franklin Chow Collection depicting hawks was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2011, lot 2718. Another Zisheng-marked cup decorated with a cockerel on the side of the exterior, was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1 November 2004, lot 951.

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