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{"id":5592359108758,"title":"Antique Chinese Silver Gilt Libation Cup, Floriform, Crabstock Handle, Kangxi, China – Circa 1700","handle":"antique-chinese-silver-gilt-libation-cup-floriform-crabstock-handle-kangxi-china-circa-1700","description":"\u003cp\u003eThe bowl of the cup takes the form of a plum blossom, with five convex lobes and a depression at the central point of each outwardly curling petal at the rim. The bowl is supported on a shallow flower shaped plain perpendicular foot, echoing the shape of the bowl. Each lobe of the cup is ornamented with a rectangular cartouche with canted corners containing a representation of a flowering plant.  The flowers, plants, birds, rocks etc. are depicted in high relief and set against a fine ring punched backdrop.  The decorative elements are three dimensional and have been formed by casting and chasing; then applied to the panels.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe footwell to the base of the cup contains an old chased inventory number: ‘\u003cem\u003eNo 14420’,\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/em\u003esuggesting that the cup once formed part of an old and sizeable collection.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eJust below the rim of the cup is a band of hatched and plain decoration, which represents the mountains against the sky, a symbol of dynamic yin and yang. Tao or Dao signifies ‘the way’ in Chinese and is a philosophical approach to life.  Taoists believe:  “Life was generated and sustained by the dynamic interaction of heaven (father) and earth (mother).” “Neijing explained the interdependent nature of Yin-Yang thus: ‘Earth\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eqi\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eascends to form cloud; heaven\u003cem\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eqi\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003edescends to rain.  Rain comes from earth\u003cem\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eqi\u003c\/em\u003e; cloud comes from heaven\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eqi\u003c\/em\u003e’ [Johnston and Bauman]\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAccording to Charles Williams, “This principle is one suggesting counterbalancing parts, one side giving energy to the other.  When yang and yin work in society, the outcome is egalitarian and democratic, while in art, the work is dynamic and creative.”  Similar decoration can be found on cups dating at least as far back as the Tang dynasty. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe presence of the short handle suggests that the cup is a libation vessel. Vine stems and leaves coil around the forked twig handle and a grape leaf covers the point where the upper fork of the handle joins the cup. The naturalistic design imitates a gnarled branch; usually referred to in English as a ‘crabstock’ handle, as the design was modelled on a branch from a crab apple tree.  Crabstock handles have a long history in China, where the design was often used for wine ewers. An early Chinese silver cup with chased crabstock handle, dated 1300 – 1362, is held in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art in the USA. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn Chinese libation rituals, rice wine or tea is poured in front of an altar or a tombstone.  After filling, the cup is usually placed down on the altar for a while whilst prayers are offered.  To make the offering, the cup is held with both hands and the offering poured horizontally from right to left as an offering to the Gods or to honour the deceased. When the libation is made to honour the deceased, the wine is poured onto the ground but in more elaborate ceremonies, such as those honouring deities, the libation can be poured over the burning paper offerings. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFloriform silver cups have a long history in Chinese art; within the collection of the British Museum are examples from the Tang, Southern Song, Ming and Qing dynasties. Lobed cups were first manufactured in silver (also in jade) during the Tang dynasty, and it is believed that they were heavily influenced by the designs of Sassanian lobed silver cups. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFloriform cups of similar style in blanc-de-chine porcelain formed part of the Hatcher Junk cargo (1643 – 1646).  The Hatcher Cargo was recovered from the wreck of a Chinese junk in the South China seas port of Batavia (Jakarta) by Captain Michael Hatcher in 1983 and later sold.  At that time, it was the largest cargo of Chinese porcelain ever recovered from the sea in good condition.  Captain Hatcher and his crew salvaged about 25,000 pieces of unbroken porcelain which were sold through four sales at Christies, Amsterdam.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eProvenance:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e          European art market\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSize:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e                           Height: 3.6 cms, width (excl. handle): 5.4 cms, total length 8.6 cms     \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWeight:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e                   84.6 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eReferences:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBritish Museum, London, collection numbers:-  1937,0416.212, 1983,0603.1, 1985,1119.1, OA+6911 \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eVictoria and Albert Museum, London, collection number M.33-1935 \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eCleveland Museum of Art, John L Severance Fund, collection number 1977.7\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eJ Rawson, Chinese Silver and its Western Origins, Connoisseur, September 1977, page 37\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eUniversity of Washington, Silk Road Seattle Project\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eC Sheaf and R Kilburn, The Hatcher Porcelain Cargoes. The Complete Record. Phaidon, Oxford 1988\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003ewww.cultural-china.com\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eLucas F Johnston, Whitney Bauman, Science and Religion : One Planet, Many Possibilities, page 162, Routledge 2013\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eCharles Williams, Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs:  A Comprehensive Handbook on Symbolism in Chinese Art through the Ages, Tuttle Publishing USA, first edition 1974\u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2020-08-09T22:46:19+01:00","created_at":"2020-08-09T22:46:17+01:00","vendor":"Joseph Cohen Antiques","type":"Libation Cup","tags":["Sold Archive"],"price":0,"price_min":0,"price_max":0,"available":false,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":35689147728022,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":false,"name":"Antique Chinese Silver Gilt Libation Cup, Floriform, Crabstock Handle, Kangxi, China – Circa 1700","public_title":null,"options":["Default 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dia_type":"image","src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/GLUQ_2016-07-04-joseph-123.jpg?v=1597009580","width":768},{"alt":null,"id":10620715237526,"position":10,"preview_image":{"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":768,"width":768,"src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/MFPXV_2016-07-04-joseph-121.jpg?v=1597009581"},"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":768,"media_type":"image","src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/MFPXV_2016-07-04-joseph-121.jpg?v=1597009581","width":768},{"alt":null,"id":10620715270294,"position":11,"preview_image":{"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":768,"width":768,"src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/2592_2016-07-04-joseph-122.jpg?v=1597009579"},"aspect_ratio":1.0,"height":768,"media_type":"image","src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0124\/1507\/4394\/products\/2592_2016-07-04-joseph-122.jpg?v=1597009579","width":768}],"content":"\u003cp\u003eThe bowl of the cup takes the form of a plum blossom, with five convex lobes and a depression at the central point of each outwardly curling petal at the rim. The bowl is supported on a shallow flower shaped plain perpendicular foot, echoing the shape of the bowl. Each lobe of the cup is ornamented with a rectangular cartouche with canted corners containing a representation of a flowering plant.  The flowers, plants, birds, rocks etc. are depicted in high relief and set against a fine ring punched backdrop.  The decorative elements are three dimensional and have been formed by casting and chasing; then applied to the panels.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe footwell to the base of the cup contains an old chased inventory number: ‘\u003cem\u003eNo 14420’,\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/em\u003esuggesting that the cup once formed part of an old and sizeable collection.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eJust below the rim of the cup is a band of hatched and plain decoration, which represents the mountains against the sky, a symbol of dynamic yin and yang. Tao or Dao signifies ‘the way’ in Chinese and is a philosophical approach to life.  Taoists believe:  “Life was generated and sustained by the dynamic interaction of heaven (father) and earth (mother).” “Neijing explained the interdependent nature of Yin-Yang thus: ‘Earth\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eqi\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eascends to form cloud; heaven\u003cem\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eqi\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003edescends to rain.  Rain comes from earth\u003cem\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003eqi\u003c\/em\u003e; cloud comes from heaven\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eqi\u003c\/em\u003e’ [Johnston and Bauman]\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAccording to Charles Williams, “This principle is one suggesting counterbalancing parts, one side giving energy to the other.  When yang and yin work in society, the outcome is egalitarian and democratic, while in art, the work is dynamic and creative.”  Similar decoration can be found on cups dating at least as far back as the Tang dynasty. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe presence of the short handle suggests that the cup is a libation vessel. Vine stems and leaves coil around the forked twig handle and a grape leaf covers the point where the upper fork of the handle joins the cup. The naturalistic design imitates a gnarled branch; usually referred to in English as a ‘crabstock’ handle, as the design was modelled on a branch from a crab apple tree.  Crabstock handles have a long history in China, where the design was often used for wine ewers. An early Chinese silver cup with chased crabstock handle, dated 1300 – 1362, is held in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art in the USA. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn Chinese libation rituals, rice wine or tea is poured in front of an altar or a tombstone.  After filling, the cup is usually placed down on the altar for a while whilst prayers are offered.  To make the offering, the cup is held with both hands and the offering poured horizontally from right to left as an offering to the Gods or to honour the deceased. When the libation is made to honour the deceased, the wine is poured onto the ground but in more elaborate ceremonies, such as those honouring deities, the libation can be poured over the burning paper offerings. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFloriform silver cups have a long history in Chinese art; within the collection of the British Museum are examples from the Tang, Southern Song, Ming and Qing dynasties. Lobed cups were first manufactured in silver (also in jade) during the Tang dynasty, and it is believed that they were heavily influenced by the designs of Sassanian lobed silver cups. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFloriform cups of similar style in blanc-de-chine porcelain formed part of the Hatcher Junk cargo (1643 – 1646).  The Hatcher Cargo was recovered from the wreck of a Chinese junk in the South China seas port of Batavia (Jakarta) by Captain Michael Hatcher in 1983 and later sold.  At that time, it was the largest cargo of Chinese porcelain ever recovered from the sea in good condition.  Captain Hatcher and his crew salvaged about 25,000 pieces of unbroken porcelain which were sold through four sales at Christies, Amsterdam.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eProvenance:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e          European art market\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSize:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e                           Height: 3.6 cms, width (excl. handle): 5.4 cms, total length 8.6 cms     \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWeight:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e                   84.6 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eReferences:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBritish Museum, London, collection numbers:-  1937,0416.212, 1983,0603.1, 1985,1119.1, OA+6911 \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eVictoria and Albert Museum, London, collection number M.33-1935 \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eCleveland Museum of Art, John L Severance Fund, collection number 1977.7\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eJ Rawson, Chinese Silver and its Western Origins, Connoisseur, September 1977, page 37\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eUniversity of Washington, Silk Road Seattle Project\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eC Sheaf and R Kilburn, The Hatcher Porcelain Cargoes. The Complete Record. Phaidon, Oxford 1988\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003ewww.cultural-china.com\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eLucas F Johnston, Whitney Bauman, Science and Religion : One Planet, Many Possibilities, page 162, Routledge 2013\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eCharles Williams, Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs:  A Comprehensive Handbook on Symbolism in Chinese Art through the Ages, Tuttle Publishing USA, first edition 1974\u003c\/p\u003e"}

Antique Chinese Silver Gilt Libation Cup, Floriform, Crabstock Handle, Kangxi, China – Circa 1700

Product Description

The bowl of the cup takes the form of a plum blossom, with five convex lobes and a depression at the central point of each outwardly curling petal at the rim. The bowl is supported on a shallow flower shaped plain perpendicular foot, echoing the shape of the bowl. Each lobe of the cup is ornamented with a rectangular cartouche with canted corners containing a representation of a flowering plant.  The flowers, plants, birds, rocks etc. are depicted in high relief and set against a fine ring punched backdrop.  The decorative elements are three dimensional and have been formed by casting and chasing; then applied to the panels.

The footwell to the base of the cup contains an old chased inventory number: ‘No 14420’, suggesting that the cup once formed part of an old and sizeable collection.

Just below the rim of the cup is a band of hatched and plain decoration, which represents the mountains against the sky, a symbol of dynamic yin and yang. Tao or Dao signifies ‘the way’ in Chinese and is a philosophical approach to life.  Taoists believe:  “Life was generated and sustained by the dynamic interaction of heaven (father) and earth (mother).” “Neijing explained the interdependent nature of Yin-Yang thus: ‘Earth qi ascends to form cloud; heaven qi descends to rain.  Rain comes from earth qi; cloud comes from heaven qi’ [Johnston and Bauman]

According to Charles Williams, “This principle is one suggesting counterbalancing parts, one side giving energy to the other.  When yang and yin work in society, the outcome is egalitarian and democratic, while in art, the work is dynamic and creative.”  Similar decoration can be found on cups dating at least as far back as the Tang dynasty. 

The presence of the short handle suggests that the cup is a libation vessel. Vine stems and leaves coil around the forked twig handle and a grape leaf covers the point where the upper fork of the handle joins the cup. The naturalistic design imitates a gnarled branch; usually referred to in English as a ‘crabstock’ handle, as the design was modelled on a branch from a crab apple tree.  Crabstock handles have a long history in China, where the design was often used for wine ewers. An early Chinese silver cup with chased crabstock handle, dated 1300 – 1362, is held in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art in the USA. 

In Chinese libation rituals, rice wine or tea is poured in front of an altar or a tombstone.  After filling, the cup is usually placed down on the altar for a while whilst prayers are offered.  To make the offering, the cup is held with both hands and the offering poured horizontally from right to left as an offering to the Gods or to honour the deceased. When the libation is made to honour the deceased, the wine is poured onto the ground but in more elaborate ceremonies, such as those honouring deities, the libation can be poured over the burning paper offerings. 

Floriform silver cups have a long history in Chinese art; within the collection of the British Museum are examples from the Tang, Southern Song, Ming and Qing dynasties. Lobed cups were first manufactured in silver (also in jade) during the Tang dynasty, and it is believed that they were heavily influenced by the designs of Sassanian lobed silver cups. 

Floriform cups of similar style in blanc-de-chine porcelain formed part of the Hatcher Junk cargo (1643 – 1646).  The Hatcher Cargo was recovered from the wreck of a Chinese junk in the South China seas port of Batavia (Jakarta) by Captain Michael Hatcher in 1983 and later sold.  At that time, it was the largest cargo of Chinese porcelain ever recovered from the sea in good condition.  Captain Hatcher and his crew salvaged about 25,000 pieces of unbroken porcelain which were sold through four sales at Christies, Amsterdam.

Provenance:          European art market

Size:                           Height: 3.6 cms, width (excl. handle): 5.4 cms, total length 8.6 cms     

Weight:                   84.6 grammes

References:

British Museum, London, collection numbers:-  1937,0416.212, 1983,0603.1, 1985,1119.1, OA+6911 

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, collection number M.33-1935 

Cleveland Museum of Art, John L Severance Fund, collection number 1977.7

J Rawson, Chinese Silver and its Western Origins, Connoisseur, September 1977, page 37

University of Washington, Silk Road Seattle Project

C Sheaf and R Kilburn, The Hatcher Porcelain Cargoes. The Complete Record. Phaidon, Oxford 1988

www.cultural-china.com

Lucas F Johnston, Whitney Bauman, Science and Religion : One Planet, Many Possibilities, page 162, Routledge 2013

Charles Williams, Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs:  A Comprehensive Handbook on Symbolism in Chinese Art through the Ages, Tuttle Publishing USA, first edition 1974

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