Last Look


Rhinoceros-horn cups from China.

Mark Morosse

Mark Morosse

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These elaborate Chinese cups, carved from rhinoceros horns, arrived at Yale’s Peabody Museum from the Art School in 1928—donated by a retiring faculty member. Thought to be from the Ming or Qing Dynasties, they are housed in the Peabody Museum storage facilities and have not been exhibited in years. They were probably libation cups; their original owners may have believed they had medicinal qualities. The larger of the two measures about eight inches in diameter and four inches in height, and they weigh about as much as medium-density wood.

Roger Colten, senior collections manager with the Peabody, considers the cups among the more varied and unusual objects in Yale’s museums. But whereas items collected for research are meticulously documented, he says, little is known about the many donations that, like these, “came in in a less systematic way.”

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