665
665

PROPERTY OF A LADY

A Large Rhinoceros Horn 'Narrative Scene and Dragon' Libation Cup
Early Qing Dynasty, 17th Century
JUMP TO LOT
665

PROPERTY OF A LADY

A Large Rhinoceros Horn 'Narrative Scene and Dragon' Libation Cup
Early Qing Dynasty, 17th Century
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Playthings From The Collection of Edward T. Chow
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Collections
Chinese Art Through the Eye of Sakamoto Gorō -
Asian Lacquer

|
Hong Kong

A Large Rhinoceros Horn 'Narrative Scene and Dragon' Libation Cup
Early Qing Dynasty, 17th Century
deftly carved on the exterior with a continuous scene depicting five figures in a landscape laden with jagged rockwork and large pine and wutong trees, including an old man holding a long staff ascending craggy steps near tempestuous waves and a figure standing next to a small hut in the background, the other side carved with two conversing scholars with a further figure knocking on a hut behind them, the scaly body of a dragon emerging partially from within lingzhi-shaped clouds, the handle formed on one side from the pine and wutong branches stemming from the base and extending towards the rim with pine blossoms resting on the interior of the cup, the opposite side of the interior detailed with the head of a dragon emerging through the clouds, the horn richly patinated to a dark brown colour, wood stand
16 cm., 6 3/8  in.
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Catalogue Note

Although rhinoceros horn cups decorated with figures in landscapes are readily found, the present vessel is distinctive for its inclusion of a large and ferocious scaly dragon that weaves in through the scene to the interior of the cup in pursuit of a flaming pearl. His tail and back left leg can be seen above the swirling waters of the landscape of rocks, trees, pavilions and swirling clouds. This realm is inhabited by an elderly man, a gentleman and a boy. Together with the dragon they illustrate the well-known story of a dragon teaching its young (canglong jiaozi): a story that came to represent the elderly official teaching his son how to succeed him and his wish for his grandson to carry on his official position for generations to come. A related cup, from the collections of Edward T. Chow and Franklin Chow, was sold in these rooms, 8th April 2011, lot 2714, but with the dragon forming the handle; and another, the dragon carved in the interior, from the collection of Michael de Salys Longchamps, is illustrated in Thomas Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 146.

Large scaly dragons are commonly depicted amongst waves, a reference to one passing the civil service examination when the carp, swimming upstream, transforms into a dragon. For examples of carvings with the 'dragon and wave' design see a cup with a vigorous scaly dragon carved as the handle, in the collection the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, published in Jan Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, pl. 234, together with a libation cup depicting a dragon weaving in and out of a pine tree trunk, in the collection of Dora Wong, pl. 235.

For examples of vessels decorated with a figural landscape see four illustrated in the Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Bamboo, Wood, ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Carvings, Shanghai, 2001, pls 145-148, from the Qing Court collection and all attributed to the early Qing dynasty.

Playthings From The Collection of Edward T. Chow
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Collections
Chinese Art Through the Eye of Sakamoto Gorō -
Asian Lacquer

|
Hong Kong