Hong Kong, HKCEC Grand Hall
30 May 2012
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
A FINELY CARVED 'LOTUS-LEAF' RHINOCEROS HORN LIBATION CUP
KANGXI PERIOD (1662-1722)
The cup is carved in delicate detail as a large veined lotus leaf with furled undulating rim and characteristic veining running down the interior and exterior of the cup. The flared sides are carved around with a further lotus leaf and two blossoms, the underside of one blossom forming the base, the stems forming the handle tied by a billowing ribbon which extends around the cup. The material is of a light caramel tone darkening at the core.
6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm.) wide, wood stand, box
Sold at Sotheby's New York, 31 May 1994, lot 163
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T. Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 134, no. 85
Hong Kong Museum of Art, Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth: Gems of Antiquities Collections in Hong Kong, 2002-2005
The lotus, he, is a homonym for 'peace'. One of the Eight Treasures of Buddhism, the lotus flower is a symbol of purity as it grows out of mud to radiate its splendour above the water's surface. This auspicious flower, which is noted for its uncontaminated beauty representing the pure and elevated character of the virtuous gentleman, is one of the most popular motifs in rhinoceros horn carving. The theme appealed greatly to the literati during the late Ming and was used on a variety of scholar's objects.
Compare a lotus-leaf form cup with the stalks similarly bound together by a ribbon to form the handle from the Paul and Helen Bernat Collection sold at Christie's New York, 2 December 1993, lot 9 and sold again, 22 March 2007, lot 146.
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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