Underscoring a strength of demand for rhinoceros horn pieces seen in the recent specialist Asian sales, Chiswick Auctions achieved a house record on July 18 when this rhinoceros horn libation cup carved with carp feeding on a waterlily sold to a Taiwanese dealer at £46,000 (plus 15 per cent buyer’s premium). The 18th or possibly 17th century vessel was discovered by auctioneer William Rouse on the sideboard of a modest home in Hanwell, one of West London’s less fashionable suburbs.
It was not in perfect condition - some of the rootwork showed
signs of recent damage - but measured an unusually large 8in (20cm)
across. Carved rhino horn cups were probably produced for
ceremonial purposes as suggested by the magical healing powers of
the horn in Chinese culture.
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