an_extremely_rare_rhinoceros_horn_chilong_and_lingzhi_warming_cup_ming_d5448192h
an_extremely_rare_rhinoceros_horn_chilong_and_lingzhi_warming_cup_ming_d5448192_001h
 
An extremely rare rhinoceros horn 'chilong and lingzhi' warming cup. Ming dynasty, early 17th century. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd. 2011

Of deep, conical form carved on the gold-lacquered interior with stepped ridges forming the outline of a lingzhi head and on the exterior with two chilong balanced atop bamboo and further lingzhi which form the openwork base, with a large cane of bamboo and a lingzhi sprig forming the handle at one end, the horn of dark caramel and golden honey tones; 4 7/8 in. (12.3 cm.) wide. Estimate HK$3,500,000 - HK$4,500,000 ($460,000 - $580,000). Unsold

明末 犀角雕螭龍祝壽暖盃

盃圓錐形,深腹,透雕環足。內壁髹金漆,並雕靈芝菌輪紋。外壁雕雙螭龍攀竹,一側特大靈芝竹竿構成盃柄,靈芝與竹寓意「祝壽」。犀角料深褐色,色澤金亮。

此盃為雙層,是唯一僅見的犀角暖盃,盃柄頂口沿處有入水孔,注入熱水後能保持盃內液體溫度。同式螭龍靈芝盃一件,2006年7月11日於倫敦佳士得拍賣,拍品31號。

此器曾錄於1999年倫敦出版Jan Chapman著《中國的犀牛角雕刻藝術》,165頁,圖204-205。

Literature: Jan Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 165, nos. 204 and 205
 
Notes: Although other examples of rhinoceros horn libation cups of this design are known, the present cup appears to be a unique example of a rhinoceros horn warming cup. A cavity between the interior and exterior walls of the cup has been hollowed to hold hot water which would have been poured into an aperture above the handle.

Compare with a small libation cup of the same design sold at Christie's London, 11 July 2006, lot 31
 
Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 1 June 2011, Convention Hall www.christies.com