A RU-TYPE EAR-CUP QIANLONG SEAL MARK AND PERIOD
- 11.5cm., 4 ½in.
A related example, but without a reign mark, from the Edward T. Chow collection, was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 25th November 1980, lot 92; and another, covered in a guan-type glaze, was also sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 26th/27th November 1976, lot 118.
Ear-cups, known in Chinese as bei or yushang, are of this oval form with a pair of round ears serving as handles. Vessels of this type appear to have had a dual function and were used both as wine and food containers. The cup's dual use is evident from the ninety ear-cups unearthed from the Han dynasty tomb site belonging to the first Marquis Dai and his family, located at Mawangdui near Changsha in Hunan province, where fifty cups were found inscribed with the three-characters jun feng shi meaning 'to serve you food' and the rest inscribed with the three-characters jun feng jiu which translates as 'to serve you wine'.