A Rare Yellow, Green And Aubergine-Glazed Ruyi Scepter. Daoguang Inscribed Seal Mark And Of The Period  (1821-1850). photo Christie's Ltd 2011

Finely incised on the convex ruyi-shaped head with two five-clawed scaly dragons contesting a flaming pearl, on the oval center with a buddhistic lion and cub with a ribbon-tied brocade ball, and on the convex circular end with five bats (wufu) encircling a shou medallion, the shaft with four cranes, all in green amidst aubergine clouds reserved on a soft lemon-yellow ground, the seal mark on the plain yellow reverse; 16½ in. (42 cm.) long, wood stand - Estimate $60,000 - $80,000. Price Realized $86,500

Notes: It is very rare to find an imperially-marked porcelain ruyi scepter, as most ruyi are either unmarked or bear dedicatory or auspicious inscriptions. The present example seems to be unique, although the same decoration, with green and aubergine dragons reserved on a yellow ground, can be seen on a pair of Daoguang-marked dishes sold in these rooms, 20 March 2001, lot 284. See, also, an unmarked blue-glazed molded ruyi scepter, dated to the 19th century, which was included in the National Palace Museum exhibition, Auspicious Ju-I Scepters of China, Taipei, 1995, p. 142, no. 69.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I & II,  15 - 16 September 2011. New York, Rockefeller Plaza. www.christies.com