Jade rhyton


British Museum

British Museum

This cup takes the form of the traditional horn-shaped rhyton in China. It stands vertically on a flat, narrow base, widening to an uneven lip. An inscription is carved around the inside of the lip. The outside surface is carved with wave-like scrolls, where sea creatures frolic, carved in bold relief. The lower half of the cup is held in the mouth of a fish or dragon, whose tail twists up along the side of the cup.The rhyton is a shape imported from Western or Central Asia. Jade examples were introduced to China during the Han dynasty (206 BC - AD 220), when Western luxuries were popular at court. A rhyton from the tomb of the king of Nan Yue (around 122 BC) is a well-known example. His tomb contained a great many jades, many collected from earlier periods.

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  • Title: Jade rhyton
  • Date Created: 1368/1450
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 18.00cm; Width: 9.00cm; Depth: 5.00cm; Weight: 0.50kg
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: animal
  • Registration number: 1937,0416.27
  • Production place: Made in China
  • Place: Found/Acquired China
  • Period/culture: Ming dynasty
  • Material: jade
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Eumorfopoulos, George
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