A large full-tip rhinoceros horn 'landscape and immortals' libation cup, 19th century

Lot 62. A large full-tip rhinoceros horn 'landscape and immortals' libation cup, 19th century; 65cm (25 1/2in) long (2)Estimate HK$ 250,000 - 350,000 (€ 27,000 - 38,000)Sold for HK$ 2,125,000 (€ 234,337) inc. premium. © Bonhams 2001-2018

Deftly carved in deep relief and openwork with a continuous scene of immortals and their attendants engaging in various activities on a succession of small terraces winding up the length of the shaft, surrounded by animals including monkeys, deer and cranes amidst pine and wutong trees emerging from cragged rockwork, all below scrolling clouds around the rim, wood stand. 

ProvenanceChristie's Hong Kong, 29 April 2002, lot 694
The Hongzhen Tang Collection, Hong Kong.

NoteCompare three related full-tip rhinoceros horn libation cups, but carved with floral and fruit motifs, one in Durham University Oriental Museum, illustrated by J.Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p.72, pl.38; and two illustrated by T.Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p.248, no.186.

A related full-tip rhinoceros horn libation cup, 19th century, carved with immortals, was sold at Bonhams London, 14 May 2015, lot 252.

A large full-tip rhinoceros horn 'Immortals and Four Noble Occupations' libation cup, 19th century

Lot 63. A large full-tip rhinoceros horn 'Immortals and Four Noble Occupations' libation cup, 19th century; 57cm (22 1/2in) long (2). Estimate HK$ 100,000 - 150,000 (€ 11,000 - 16,000)Sold for HK$ 1,125,000 (€ 124,061) inc. premium. © Bonhams 2001-2018

The reticulated horn remarkably and vividly carved in different levels of relief with two Daoist immortals Li Tieguai and Zhong Liquan standing on cloud scrolls, above a fisherman, woodcutter, farmer and scholar, surrounded by squirrels clambering amidst grapevines, all amongst bamboo, pine, wutong and willow trees issuing from cragged rockwork, hardwood stand. 

ProvenanceChristie's London, 25 November 1999, lot 157
The Hongzhen Tang Collection, Hong Kong

NoteThe present lot is rare for the carving of the two immortals Li Tieguai and Zhong Liquan, combined with the representation of the 'Four Noble Occupations' comprising a fisherman, woodcutter, farmer and scholar, symbolising Chinese four-layered traditional social structure.

Compare three related full-tip rhinoceros horn libation cups, but carved with floral and fruit motifs, one in Durham University Oriental Museum, illustrated by J.Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p.72, pl.38; and two illustrated by T.Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p.248, no.186.

A related full-tip rhinoceros horn libation cup, 19th century, carved with immortals, was sold at Bonhams London, 14 May 2015, lot 252; and see also another related example carved with immortals, 19th century, which was sold at Sotheby's London, 9 November 2011, lot 5.

Bonhams. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART, 29 May 2018, 14:00 HKT, HONG KONG, ADMIRALTY