An 18th Century Blanc de Chine Porcelain ‘Libation Cup’

An 18th century Chinese Blanc de Chine Porcelain wine cup, from a kiln in Dehua, Fujian province.  This ‘libation’ cup is based on the form of a cut down Rhinoceros horn, unlike earlier Blanc de Chine porcelain cups, this 18th century one is moulded with relief decoration. Earlier cups of this type had applique decoration added by hand, rather than being moulded in one.


In perfect condition.
Width : 10.2 cm (4 inches)
Stock number



Libation Cups :
Blanc de Chine cups of this type have been traditionally referred to as `Libation Cups`. This is unlikely to be correct but their shape follows that of rhinoceros horn cups which was made locally, it is interesting baring in mind the important powers that the Chinese attach to this material. By having a Blanc de Chine cup of this form some of the powers of real rhinoceros horn might be conveyed to the drinker.

Blanc de Chine Porcelain :
The porcelain known in the West as Blanc de Chine was produced 300 miles south of the main Chinese kiln complex of Jingdezhen. The term refers to the fine grain white porcelain made at the kilns situated near Dehua in the coastal province of Fujian, these kilns also produced other types of porcelain. A rather freely painted blue and white ware, porcelain with brightly coloured `Swatow` type enamels as well as pieces with a brown iron-rich glaze. However it is the white blanc de Chine wares that have made these kilns famous. The quality and colour achieved by the Dehua potters was partly due to the local porcelain stone, it was unusually pure and was used without kaolin being added. This, combined with a low iron content and other chemical factors within the body as well as the glaze, enabled the potters to produce superb ivory-white porcelain.