An extremely rare archaistic tripod rhinoceros horn libation cup.. Qing dynasty, 17th-18th century. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd. 2011
The archaistic vessel standing on three broadly splayed triangular lappet-form legs emerging from lion masks, the slender flared body exquisitely carved in low relief around the sides with a band of two taotie masks on a leiwen ground below a band of stylised lappets enclosing ruyi heads, the double strap handle spanning the lower body and the rim with a chilong resting on the top edge to peer over into the interior of the cup, flanked by two further chilong clambering over the rim of the cup, the legs and rim finely detailed with keyfret borders, the material of an attractive rich chestnut brown tone; 5 7/8 in. (15 cm.) wide  Estimate HK$3,500,000 - HK$4,500,000 ($460,000 - $580,000).. Unsold

清初 犀角雕螭龍爵盃



此器源自1970年代Josette Schulman舊藏。

Provenance: Galerie Josette Schulman, Paris, 1971

Notes: The current vessel belongs to a group of rhinoceros horn carvings in the form of archaic jue. Some are carved to resemble the original vessels very closely while others, like the present example, are carved in the style of the bronze prototypes with contemporary adaptations to the form and decoration.

A closely related smaller example of this type in the Harvard University Museums Collection is illustrated by Thomas Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 83, no. 36. The splayed legs in particular, display very similar treatment to the decoration on the current vessel. Compare also with a rhinoceros horn jue with chilong clambering around the sides and lingzhi forming the posts or handles in the Palace Museum Collection, Beijing, illustrated in Bamboo, Wood and Rhinoceros Horn Carvings, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Beijing, p. 154, no. 136.

Rhinoceros horn cups of this type were made by cutting the narrow tip of the horn and then pulling it apart after the horn had been made pliable through soaking. The legs are then curved outwards so that the cup can stand securely.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 1 June 2011, Convention Hall