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A rare rhinoceros horn carving, M&P of Wanli, SNY 28/11/94, lot 130 (US$68,500)
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À propos de l'objet

A very rare and superbly carved rhinoceros horn carving of the Hehe Erxian\nmark and period of Wanli, Superbly carved as the He He twins, shoulder to shoulder, both wearing long robes around falling them in numerous undulous folds, both with finely-detailed, expressive faces with broad grins, dimples and wavy hair, one holding a bat, the other with a circular, broad-rimmed straw hat trailing down the back to a covered wicker box, the base lacquered and painted in gilt with a six-character mark within a wide keyfret band\n6.4cm., 2 1/2 in.
HK
HK
HK

notes

The Hehe Twins were the patron deities of Chinese merchants and represented the 'Twin Immortality of Harmony'. The present piece may have been used as a libation cup in antiquity.  This form of the He He Twins carved in rhinoceros horn is extremely rare, although a related carving of the Hehe twins with an inscription dated 1573-1619 is illustrated in Jan Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn carving in China, London, 1999, p. 108, pl. 102 right, where it is noted that 'the shape of the carving does not indicate whether it is made from African or Asiatic horn'. Chapman's guess is that it comes from the posterior horn of the Sumatran rhinoceros (ibid., p. 109).

An example of the He He twins carved in bamboo was offered in our rooms, 29th October 2001, lot 684, and another carved in tianhuang was offered in our rooms, 30th October, 2000, lot 250.  See also a jade carving of the twins sold in our rooms, 2nd May, 2000, lot 812.

dimensions

6.4cm., 2 1/2 in.

provenance

Sotheby's New York, 28th November 1994, lot 130.


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