Lot 119. A yellow and russet jade 'buffalo' rhyton cup, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); 4.8cm (1 7/8in) (2). Sold for HKD 82,875 (Est: HKD 60,000 - HKD 80,000). © Bonhams 2001-2022
Of deep-U shape with a buffalo head at the base, incised with archaistic taotie mask underneath a geometric band, the yellow and russet stone cleverly worked to accentuate the buffalo's snout, box.
Provenance: Sotheby's Hong Kong, 4 June 2020, lot 403.
Note: Animal-headed rhytons probably began in China as a result of Sassanian influence in about the 7th century, and the use of the rhyton cup as wine vessel in China goes back to at least the beginning of the Han dynasty. Yet a rhyton cup of such delicate size as the present lot is very rare, see for example a Tang dynasty burnt white jade carved bovine-headed rhyton in the Metropolitan Museum collection, illustrated in Chinese Jades from Han to Ch'ing, New York, 1980, p.55. Compare also a closely related jade rhyton with a buffalo head from the Durwin Tang collection, Song/Ming, which was sold in these rooms on 27 November 2018, lot 166.