A blanc de Chine libation cup, is shaped like an archaic bronze jue. It stands on three small cabriole feet and has a single c-shaped ear on one side. There are short capped posts, attached to the inner rim. The body has moulding in low relief, of four panels each with a Chinese character, separated by vertical flanges. Around the outer rim, is a moulded band with repeating key-fret pattern.
During China’s Bronze Age, these jue cups were used as ritual vessels to heat and then drink alcohol. As it has high legs, the metal version could be placed over the heat source to warm the liquid. The short posts inside the rim, would have been used to pick up the hot cup, perhaps with tongs. However, during the late Ming period in China, this cup would have been used as an elegant wine cup. Its reference to an archaic shape, would have reflected the great discernment and sophistication of its owner. They are known in various sizes and with small variations in decoration and shape. Besides being used in China, these type of cups also appear to have been traded and exported to the West.
Musée Guimet, Paris has an identical example (G4009), as does the Hallwyl Collection, Stockholm. The George & Marie Vergottis Foundation, Lausanne and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (CIRC.1370-1926), also have blanc de Chine jue in their collections.