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Intellectual History Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2017

Gettysburg College

Chinese art

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Full-Text Articles in Intellectual History

Rhinoceros Horn Libation Cup, Erin C. Harten Oct 2017

Rhinoceros Horn Libation Cup, Erin C. Harten

Wonders of Nature and Artifice

On display in the “Wonders of Nature and Artifice” exhibit at Gettysburg College is an exquisitely carved Chinese rhinoceros horn cup decorated with many images of animals, from dragons to tortoises.The rhinoceros horn has been noted by the Chinese as early as the T’ang dynasty (618-907) to have magical properties, and it was believed that when a poisonous liquid was poured into a rhino horn, the horn would change colors to alert to the presence of poison.Due to these magical properties, rhinoceros horns have been regarded as especially valuable. [excerpt]