Lot 48 An exceptionally rare rhinoceros horn 'boys and goat' libation cup

估   价 HKD 500,000-800,000 (折合人民币:431,750-690,800)


分类: 瓷玉杂项--竹木牙角
尺寸: 宽17.5cm;约0.00平尺
An exceptionally rare rhinoceros horn 'boys and goat' libation cup
17th/18th century
Exquisitely carved as a naturalistic large lotus leaf flaring towards the rim to form a deep vessel, the exterior further carved with smaller leafy branches of lotus bud and lotus leaves, all borne on long stems grasped by two men with one men sitting on a recumbent goat and the other accompanied by a boy, the horn of an attractive rich honey tone darkening to a warm dark brown tone towards the bottom. 17.5cm (7in) wide


  • 十七/十八世紀 犀角雕童子騎羊圖杯

    P.D. Krolik, prior to February 1970 on loan to the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery
    Sotheby's London, 24 February 1970, lot 70
    An important European private collection, and thence by descent

    Published and Illustrated:
    J.Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, pp.74-75, pl.41



    The present cup is exceptionally rare in belonging to a very small group termed 'caryatid cups' in rhinoceros horn libation cups in which the cup is held aloft by a human or animal figure. According to J.Chapman, this very small group numbers only four known libation cups, including the present lot; see J.Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, pp.74-75, pl.41. Of the other three known examples, two are illustrated by J.Chapman, ibid., pp.73-74, pls.39-40, the first from the Marcel Lorber collection, in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the second in the Van Veen collection, Holland.

    This outstanding work of art would have required a complex and challenging craftsmanship, demonstrated in the master carver subtly linking the stem of the lowest part of the lotus leaf to the back of the man's head in order to provide strength and support, while ingeniously arranging his right hand to grasp the narrow stem of the leaf so that the linkage would not appear to be noticeable. The naturalistic carvings of the lotus leaves and figures in various levels of relief further display the technical virtuosity of the carver, conveying a sense of sophistication and liveliness, achieving what could be described as a masterpiece of rhinoceros horn carving.

    The word lotus is a pun for 'continuous' (lian 連) and the boy is a symbol for a wish for a son; together, they represent the blessing of continuously giving birth to distinguished sons (liansheng guizi 連生貴子). Moreover, the goat represents the spirit or birth of light and life as a homophone of yang 陽 at the same time is also a symbol of filial piety.


    類似於本作品的犀角杯非常罕見,屬於為數極少的一組被稱為「人像柱杯」的犀角杯,杯身通常以飾在下部分的人物或動物高舉。根據Jan Chapman的說法,此類犀角杯已知的傳世品只有四件,包括本拍品,見Jan Chapman著,《中國犀角雕刻藝術》,倫敦,1999年,頁74-75,圖41;其餘三件中有兩件也著錄在同書中,見頁73-74,圖39-40,一件為Marcel Lorber舊藏,現藏於耶路撒冷以色列博物館;另一件為荷蘭Van Veen收藏。

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