The present cup is one of the finest examples by the well-known carver You Kan, whose hao is Zhi Sheng. You Kan was a prolific carver, and according to Jan Chapman in The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 139, it is possible that "he is the famous You Bei (Rhinoceros Horn Cup You) who lived in Wuxi and was summoned by the Kangxi Emperor to travel to the capital and work in the imperial ateliers. The fact that a figure cup signed by You Kan (Zhi Sheng) is part of the Beijing Palace Museum collection, confirms that he was a palace carver and reinforces his identification as the You Bei who was active during the period, c. 1660-1720."
The carving on the present cup is exceptional for its superb quality, naturalistic detail and unusual subject-matter. A rhino horn cup with a very similar composition of cockerel, hen and chicks, and signed You Kan Zhi Sheng, formerly in the collection of Dr Ip Yee, is illustrated by J. Chapman, ibid., pl. 250. Another signed cup with a stylistically comparable design of mandarin ducks and lotus, is in the Beijing Palace Museum, illustrated in Bamboo, Wood Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Carvings, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, vol. 44, Commerical Press Hong Kong, 2002, pl. 127.