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.
Cup runneth over for Chiswick Auction Rooms
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.