Ruyi sceptre

Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Qianlong reign, 18th century
Medium
Gold, turquoise, silk
Dimensions
H x W x D: 24.4 x 6 x 4.3 cm (9 5/8 x 2 3/8 x 1 11/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1937.45
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Metalwork
Type

Scepter

Keywords
bat, Buddhism, China, Daoism, inlay, peach, Qianlong reign (1736 - 1796), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), wirework, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

This ruyi scepter was presented to the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1736-96) in 1783. The word ruyi literally means "as you wish," and decorative scepters such as this symbolized good wishes. The head of this scepter is decorated with ornaments of turquoise: both bats and peaches are emblems of good fortune and immortality in Chinese lore.

Published References
  • Smithsonian Institution. Report of the Secretary, 1938. Washington, 1938-1939. pl. 1.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 109, vol. 1: p. 176.
  • Dr. Berthold Laufer, Parish-Watson Company. The Gold Treasure of the Emperor Chien Lung of China. Chicago and New York. cat. 8, pp. 25, 27.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 27.
  • Roger Soame Jenyns, William Watson. Chinese Art, The Minor Arts: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Cloisonne, Cantonese enamel, Lacquer, Furniture, Wood. The Universe Library of Antique Art vol. 2 New York. p. 43.
  • Joe Dan Lowry, Joe P. Lowry. Turquoise: The World Story of a Fascinating Gemstone. Layton, UT. p. 56.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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