Rhinoceros Cup 17th. Century (c. 1660 Continental)
9.50cm high ( 3.74 inches high)
8.50cm ( 3.35 inches)
Description / Expertise
Fine 17th. century Rhinoceros Cup with gilded silver mounts. Probably Prague or German
Rhino horn was used as early as 618 A.D. to make ornamental drinking cups in China which could detect poisons. Poisoning was an often used non-bloody way of getting rid of your rivals or enemies; therefore it was a good idea if you had some way of detecting it in your own drink. Poisons used at the time were strong alkaloids and are thought to react with the keratin and gelatin that the rhino horn is made from, producing effervescent bubbles. The cups were used in Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian cultures from Central Africa, Europe to China.