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Rhinoceros-horn Cup with Carved Flowers and Butterflies

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Period: late Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Medium: rhinoceros horn
Dimensions: height: 12.8 cm, mouth diameter: 16.2-9.2 cm, foot diameter: 5.4-4.2 cm

The cup with a wide opening, curved slender body and contracting base looks very elegant. The whole outside surface is carved with chrysanthemum, orchid, plum and camellia flowers. The flowers and leaves are relieved by ornamental rocks. Chrysanthemum leaves growing out crevices in the rocks entwine to form the handle of the cup. Some of the chrysanthemum flowers and leaves extend into the cup. A butterfly flies among the flowers, and another is perched on an orchid leaf. As the inside of the cup is carved in the texture of rocks, the decorations inside and outside the cup form an entity. The cup is decorated with carvings in high relief, engravings and cuttings in intaglio, which cover the entire cup. The images are vivid and lifelike.

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