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Chinese Tortoiseshell Ruyi Sceptre 

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Chinese Tortoiseshell Ruyi Sceptre 

- Item No.

Fashioned from intricately carved tortoiseshell

Key Features

  • A magnificent ruyi sceptre is fashioned from intricately carved tortoiseshell.
  • A stunning example of Chinese mastery, from the Jiaqing Period
  • Ruyi sceptres were imbued with talismanic properties and were given as important gifts
  • Circa 1800
  • 17 1/2 long

Item Details

  • Length:
    17 1/2" Inches
  • Period:
    19th Century
  • Origin:
This magnificent ruyi sceptre is fashioned from intricately carved tortoiseshell. Carved with delicate open-work the sceptre depicts cranes flying amongst detailed foliage and a lucky cloud motif. A stunning example of Chinese mastery, from the Jiaqing Period, this flawlessly carved ruyi is executed with a tension that has the birds moving freely within the overlapping design work but nonetheless remaining captured within the structure.

The Chinese word, "Ruyi" means 'as you wish' and ruyi sceptres were imbued with talismanic properties and were given as important gifts to bestow good fortune. The shape and symbolism of ruyi sceptres developed over time and historians suggest that the form had its origins in back scratchers used by deities of the Buddhist pantheon. By the Tang Dynasty period (618-907)  these functional items had evolved into items that were both ornamental and auspicious.

 The form of the ruyi was adopted by the Daoists and it became associated with the fungus (lingzhi) which was symbolic of  longevity and was converted into a secular good luck charm. The Yongzheng Emperor revived the auspicious tradition when he commissioned examples made from precious and other materials. The Qianlong Emperor extended the use and symbolism when he presented ruyi sceptres to courtiers to mark New Year celebrations and imperial birthdays.

Circa 180017 1/2" long

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Price: $48,850
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