A large rhinoceros horn cup, 19th century © 2002-2009 Bonhams 1793 Ltd

The long deeply carved cup with ruffled rim raised on a long tapering openwork stem extending to the tip of the horn depicting blossoming flowers and buds, elaborately carved wood stand. 45.2cm (17½in) long. (2). Estimate: £20,000 - 30,000, HK$250,000 - 380,000

Provenance: Timothy Arthur O'Keeffe (1880-1966), Dublin, purchased during the first half of the 20th century, and thence by descent.

Timothy Arthur O'Keeffe, born in County Cork, Ireland in 1880, travelled extensively around the world and made his home in Dublin. He participated in the First World War and according to the family served as a spy for the ANZAC forces under the name of Captain Byrne.

The present lot is carved from an African full-tip rhinoceros horn, characterised by its fine grain. See two related 19th century large carved rhinoceros horns, illustrated by Thomas Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, Catalogue no.186.

Compare a related but larger full-tip rhinoceros horn cup, sold at Christie's New York, 15 September 2009, lot 221.


A large rhinoceros horn libation cup, 17th century © 2002-2009 Bonhams 1793 Ltd

Finely carved in the form of a lotus flower with overlapping petals, borne on a stem forming the foot with further stems with buds and musk mallow leaves, the handle in the form of a chilong dragon clambering over stems and over the rim, holding a lingzhi fungus sprig in its mouth, the horn of dark chocolate tone. 17.8cm (7in) wide. Estimate: £7,000 - 9,000, HK$88,000 - 110,000

Provenance: an English private collection
According to the family, purchased in the early 20th century and thence by descent.


A rhinoceros horn libation cup, 17th/18th century © 2002-2009 Bonhams 1793 Ltd

Of tapering form carved in high relief with gnarled prunus branches with buds and blossoms, growing over the rim into the interior. 14.6cm (5¾in) wide. Estimate: £4,000 - 6,000, HK$50,000 - 75,000


A small carved rhinoceros 'magnolia' libation cup, 17th/18th century © 2002-2009 Bonhams 1793 Ltd

Carved in the form of a blossom with overlapping lappets, borne on a gnarled stem forming the foot and bearing magnolia buds and flowers, wood stand. 9.4cm (3¾in) wide. (2). Estimate: £1,500 - 2,000, HK$19,000 - 25,000

Provenance: an English family collection, Shropshire.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art, 5 Nov 2009. New Bond Street www.bonhams.com