Celebratory porcelain cups (often rather pretentiously called libation cups) with a translucent creamy white glaze over the high-fired perfectly white paste, Dehua, China, late Ming Dynasty, c 1630-1650. The form is that of a rhinoceros horn cup. The decorative appliqués on the larger one show a four-clawed dragon emerging from a cloud, a tiger and a stag standing beneath plum and pine branches. There is a crane, too, on the smaller cup. These cups, with their auspicious symbols, were intended as gifts for candidates who had succeeded in the imperial examinations, though I imagine they had other purchasers among the ambitious merchant class that was beginning to assert itself culturally at that time.
$1500 and $1000 if purchases separately.
Width: 15 & 10.6 cm.
Condition: Perfect; no chips or cracks or other damage.