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5. A bamboo veneer ruyi sceptre, Qing dynasty, late 18th/early 19th century

Naturalistically carved in shallow relief with lotus and lingzhi to the head and prunus, peony and pine to the shaft and narcissus to the ruyi-shaped terminal. 

Length: 36cm

Provenance: Purchased in Amsterdam, 2012.

The term ruyi means ‘as you wish’ and it was believed the these sceptres would bestow good fortune on their owners. There are a number of examples in the imperial collection, Beijing and were highly prized by the Qianlong Emperor (1736-1795). For a more elaborate imperial bamboo veneer sceptre from the Palace Museum, Beijing, see China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795, London, 2005, p. 368, pl. 274 and for a similar example sold at auction, see Christie’s New York, 24 March 2011, Lot 1440.

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