A pair of Dehua wine cups

17th century

Each shallow cup with rounded sides and flaring rim is supported on a short foot, set with a bamboo-shaped handle and covered with a rich creamy glaze, the base unglazed.

8.9 cm wide



Formerly in a French private collection 

Cups with bamboo-shaped handles are illustrated in Donnelly, and described as being of high quality and generally not found in Europe. However, Augustus the Strong had seven similar cups in his collection before 1721.

The shape is in scholarly taste, just like the zitan cups illustrated on the previous page. They were used by the scholars of the 17th century, as is confirmed by a detail of a handscroll by Gu Zuntao, dated 1677, showing a gathering of scholars drinking wine. Interestingly, the wine cups on the table and in one of the scholars’ hands are identical to the present pair, which indicates that these cups were originally made for the internal market.


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