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Wine Cup

Chinese, Song Dynasty
ca. 960 - 1279
16.51 cm x 15.56 cm x 5.4 cm (6 1/2 in. x 6 1/8 in. x 2 1/8 in.)
brown and white jade

Not on view


The carved brown-and-white jade cup imitates a curved rhinoceros horn. It is incised with eight bands of relief that include volutes, abstracted animals, dragon masks, and stylized dragons (bottom register). This type of horn-shaped cup was introduced to the Chinese by Asian nomadic cultures at the time of the Han dynasty. In ancient China, it was believed that jade was sensitive to external stimuli and imbued with a life force. The Han dynasty aristocracy particularly believed that the “energy” of the jade would be absorbed by the water or alcohol in the cup, thereby making the drinker immortal.

Arthur P. Thompson, "Inventory and Appraisal of the Personal Property Owned by the Hon. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss" (7/29/1938), p. 80, no. 263.

Exhibition History
3/27/2019; Bliss Case - A Nobility of Matter: Asian Art in the Bliss Collection

House Collection