A rhinoceros horn archaistic libation cup, 17th century. Photo Christie's Image Ltd, 2011

Of flared form carved to the centre with a band of stylised phoenix detailed with long curled tail feathers, below a band of pendant blades enclosing cicadas, the interior of the mouth rim encircled by a continuous narrow key-fret border, interrupted by the flat top of the strap handle further decorated with a taotie mask surrounded by archastic scrolls, the horn of a warm honey tone; 6½ in. (16.5 cm.) wide.. Estimate £100,000 - £150,000. Price Realized £145,250.

明末/清初   十七世紀   犀角雕鳳紋盃     6½ in. (16.5 cm.) wide

Notes: Stylised phoenix bands above hanging cicada blades are motifs found originally on archaic bronze ritual vessels. Such archaistic designs were frequently used as a way of referencing and attributing antiquity. See a gu-shaped rhinoceros horn cup in the Gerard Levy Collection, also with a phoenix and cicada band, illustrated by Jan Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 151, no. 182. Compare also the smaller and narrower phoenix and cicada bands carved to an archaistic rhinoceros horn libation cup sold in these rooms, 10 May 2011, lot 7.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 8 November 2011; London, King Street www.christies.com