A Chinese cup carved from rhinoceros horn is expected to bring up to CDN$10,000 in a forthcoming sale of Asian art and antiques on May 24.
The 300 year old cup, shaped in the form of a lotus pad, is believed to have been produced in the 17th or 18th century. A monkey and a lion grasp the simply carved base, on which the lotus is supported.
A guide price of CDN$5,000-10,000 has been set for the piece, but Paul Fraser Collectibles expects this item to beat its estimate, given auction precedents for rhino horn objects. An intricately carved libation cup, dating from the same period, brought $270,000 to another auction in March this year, beating its estimate by 8%.
The trade in rhinoceros horn was made illegal in 1976, in an effort to conserve what remains of the decreasing population. New horns are strictly forbidden at auction, however confirmed antiques are deemed to be acceptable. Rhino horn is in great demand throughout Asia due to its supposed healing properties.
The lotus cup will be joined at auction by a rhino horn carved seal, featuring writhing dragons, which is expected to sell for CDN$1,000-2,000.
Also featuring will be a Ming dynasty gilt medicine Buddha statue, which is expected to make CDN$5,000-7,500. The lavish figure sees Buddha seated in the vajrasana position on a double lotus pedestal, his hands set in a classic meditative pose.
You can find more information on the fascinating market for rhino horn antiques here. Paul Fraser Collectibles will be bringing you the results from the auction as soon as they happen.