An Exquisitely Carved Rhinoceros Horn 'Red Cliff' Libation Cup, 17th-18th Century. Photo Sotheby's
the exterior carved to portray the Red Cliff punctuated with vegetarian and gnarly trees, undercut at one end to form the handle, the poet Su Dongpo and his companions Foyin and Huang Tingjian followed up a steep path by their attendants who carry their luggage off a boat moored by the riverbank, the interior carved with a crane, waterfall, pine tree and branches that extend over the rim, the material of a rich reddish brown color, stone stand (2). Length 6 in., 15.2 cm - ESTIMATION 100,000-150,000 USD
PROVENANCE: Acquired by the Honorable Judge Edgar Bromberger prior to 1956, and thence by descent.
NOTE DE CATALOGUE: The Ode to the Red Cliff was a popular motif for rhinoceros horn cups during the 17th and 18th centuries. This motifallowed artists to not only display their skills by depicting figures in a rocky riverscape, but also allowed them to add a literary and historical dimension to their work, by portraying the famous poet Su Dongpo visiting a historical site memorialized in his work Ode to the Red Cliff. This motif is identifiable by the presence of Foyin, a monk with a shaved head. A particularly fine example of a cup with this motif from the Edward & Franklin Chow Collection, dated to 1639, was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th April 2011, lot 2711. Four other examples with this motif, all dated to the 17th century, are illustrated by Thomas Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carvings in China, Hong Kong, 1999, nos 130, 132, 133 and 137. An example dated to the 18th century was sold in our New York rooms, 18th September 2007, lot 14, and another 17th century example was sold in our London rooms 24th April 1987, lot 265.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, New York | 11 sept. 2012 www.sothebys.com