Hong Kong, HKCEC Grand Hall
30 May 2012
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
A RARE SMALL RHINOCEROS HORN WINE CUP
MING DYNASTY, EARLY 17TH CENTURY
The thick body tapers in a curved line from the broad circular footed base to the everted rim. The lustrous undecorated material is of a rich golden tone darkening to a reddish brown to the interior.
2 in. (5.2 cm.) diam., wood stand, box
Acquired in London, 1988
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T. Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 110, no. 63
Hong Kong Museum of Art, Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth: Gems of Antiquities Collections in Hong Kong, 2002-2005
The form of this cup with its thick sides and broad foot ring is reminiscent of the yashoubei, which literally means 'fitting into one's palm', of the Ming period. As such it is markedly different to the much thinner walls and narrow foot rims found on Qing dynasty cups which are closer to those made in the ceramic form. It has been noted by the author that this streaked fibrous rhinoceros horn was known as banxi, see T. Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, 1999, p. 110.
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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