A pale green jade rhyton cup, 17th-18th century. Sold for HK$ 400,000 (€41,976). Photo Bonhams.
The very pale green stone highlighted by scattered darker inclusions, the jade hollowed to form a slender cup raised on a stepped foot, the smooth body encircled by a band of finely incised archaistic scrolls, the handle carved in high relief as a charming chilong clambering up the side to peer over the finely flaring lip. 12.6cm (5in) high
Provenance: Somerset de Chair (1911-1995)
The present lot is exceptionally finely formed, with a most pleasing sweeping curvature to the rim, strongly stylised chilong and delicately turned foot. The horn-shaped form appears to have arrived in China during the Han dynasty from Central Asian and Near Eastern, but had already been absorbed into the Chinese tradition by the Song dynasty: see a rhyton cup with stylised chilong including one biting the rim, dated to the 10th-14th century illustrated by R-Y.Lefebvre d’Argencé, Chinese Jades in the Avery Brundage Collection, Japan, 1977, pl.XXXVII. Another example illustrated ibid., pl.LVII shows the later style from the 18th century, more closely related to the present cup with its elegantly curved rim, archaistic decorative bands and confidently carved chilong, as well as the white and russet stone chosen for the carving.
Bonhams. IMPORTANT JADE CARVINGS FROM THE SOMERSET DE CHAIR COLLECTION, 27 Nov 2014 14:00 HKT – HONG KONG, ADMIRALTY