Previously sold at Christie's Paris, 15 June 2005, lot 231.
The inscription can be translated as follows:
Upright and clean despite the wind and frost,
Carving through the cloudy sky, pure and luxurious.
The Three Friends of Winter, 'pine, prunus, and bamboo', flourish even under adverse conditions and are a common subject in Chinese painting, calligraphy and works of art. Together they are symbolic of longevity, perseverance and the virtues of the scholar-gentleman.
The unusually simple and tranquil subject matter of the carving on the cup, absent of any superfluous figures, is extremely well-executed and would have made this an ideal object for contemplation on the scholar's desk.