A small floral-lobed rhinoceros horn libation cup, Ming dynasty, 16th-17th dynasty

Lot 4157. A small floral-lobed rhinoceros horn libation cup, Ming dynasty, 16th-17th dynasty, 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm.) wide. Estimate HKD 500,000 - HKD 700,000Price realised HKD 1,340,000 © Christie's Images Ltd 2012

The quatrefoil cup has elegantly formed flared sides ribbed and grooved in the shape of four petals, carved in shallow relief around the exterior with a continuous undulating petal design, between keyfret bands at the rim and on the conforming pedestal foot. The openwork handle formed by entwined chilong, the larger of which is grasping the rim of the cup and peering into the interior. The material of a reddish-brown tone; wood stand, box.

Provenance: Sold at Sotheby's New York, 5 June 1982, lot 334  

LiteratureT. Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 52, no. 5
Art and Collection, 2001, issue 105, Yi liang xijiao san liang jin, p. 102 

ExhibitedHong Kong Museum of Art, Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth: Gems of Antiquities Collections in Hong Kong, 2002-2005 

NoteThe design and form of this cup is reminiscent of silverwork of the mid-Ming period.

Compare a cup in this fluted floral form from the Gerard Levy Collection, illustrated by J. Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 149, no. 173. 

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 30 May 2012, Hong Kong, HKCEC Grand Hall