A Very Rare And Finely Carved Rhinoceros Horn Lotus Leaf-Shaped Water Dropper. 17th/18th Century

The main receptacle naturalistically modelled as a large lotus leaf, carved around the exterior with three lotus blooms and a pod with loose seeds, beside a curled leaf and millet, all borne on the long stems curving up to one side, the central stem well-hollowed to form the pouring spout, its slender channel connected to a hole in the centre of the interior, the interior of the cup with a crab grasping a spray of millet in its claw, the horn of a rich deep honey tone getting darker towards the spout. 7½ in. (19 cm.) wide - Price Realized £205,250 ($333,942)

Provenance: John Sparks, London

R.H.R. Palmer Collection

Notes: A similar example signed by the maker Zhi Sheng sold in our Hong Kong Rooms, 27 May 2008, lot 1716.

The carving on the cup is exceptional in its superb quality, naturalistic detail and subject-matter. A related rhinoceros horn waterdropper with a very similar composition of lotus leaves and insects in the Shanghai Museum collection, bearing a 'You Kan' sealmark within a square, is illustrated by T. Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 151, no.101. A similar example without a mark from the Ruth Dreyfus and Arthur M. Sackler Collections was sold in our New York rooms, 1 December 1994, lot 38.

Christie's.  A Private English Collection of White Jade Carvings. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art including Export Art. 4 November 2008. London, King Street. Image Christie's Ltd 2008 . www.christies.com