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  • Place of origin:

    China (Probably, made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Agate, carved and polished using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools.

  • Credit Line:

    Wells Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This agate cup was most probably produced in China in the 18th century and it has been fashioned from translucent agate with attractive markings. It has been worked by a skilled craftsman and would have been created for a wealthy or notable person.

Physical description

A cup of circular, fluted form with two handles fashioned as hollow, upward-facing, tubular flowers. The interior base is decorated with a flower carved in relief. On the exterior, there is a circular arrangement of channels or petals which lead down to a recessed foot with rim. Carved and polished from translucent grey to beige agate with some brown banding and moss-like inclusions.

Place of Origin

China (Probably, made)


18th century (made)

Materials and Techniques

Agate, carved and polished using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools.


Length: 133.0 mm 1550-1882 +/- 0.5, Width: 93.1 mm 1550-1882, Height: 61.7 mm 1550-1882, Depth: 43.2 mm 1550-1882, Diameter: 40.30 to 40.55 mm 1550-1882, Diameter: 34.2 mm 1550-1882, Thickness: 1.3 to 1.5 mm 1550-1882

Object history note

This cup was most probably fashioned in China in the 18th century and it was acquired by Arthur Wells who was a Nottingham solicitor and Clerk of the Peace. He was a keen traveller and was made a Fellow of the Geographical Society. He is considered to be the first private British collector of Chinese jade and his collection of jade and other hardstone objects from South Asia was on exhibition at the South Kensington Museum at the time of his death in 1882. This collection was left to the museum in his will - the Wells Bequest.

Descriptive line

Cup, two flower handles, fluted, recessed foot with rim, translucent grey and beige agate, probably China, 18th century




Drinking; Food vessels & Tableware; Gemstones; Hardstone


South & South East Asia Collection

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