A Yellow Jade 'Chilong' Ruyi Sceptre. Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period - Photo Sotheby's

inely carved in high relief with a chilong striding along the arched shaft, with a powerful writhing body, a horned triangular head and a long curling tail, breathing forth swirls of vapour towards a flaming pearl and another chilong writhing among clouds on the the ruyi-shaped terminal, all above a rocky outcrop issuing clouds and washed by turbulent waves, the pointed end detailed with a stalk oflingzhi, the translucent stone of warm greenish-yellow tone with a few calcified patches on the reverse and attractive russet streaks; 32 cm., 12 5/8 in. stimation: 800,000 - 1,200,000 HKD - Lot. Vendu 1,820,000 HKD

NOTE DE CATALOGUE: This sceptre is notable for the sinuous chilong which has been carved in the round to provide a dramatic aesthetic contrast with the simple form of the shaft and the head, which depicts another chilong in high relief. The clouds denote the ethereal nature of these mythical creatures while their swirling form that echoes the movement of the chilong adds an aesthetic dimension. 

A related celadon jade sceptre, but decorated with three chilong on the shaft, was sold twice at Christie’s London, 17th December 1981, lot 409, and again, 14th /16th December 1983, lot 613. In its style and form, the present sceptre is reminiscent of an exceptional imperial inscribed white jade ruyi sceptre, dated to the renchen year of Qianlong’s reign (corresponding to 1772), carved with a dragon amongst vaporous clouds, sold in these rooms, 1st November 1999, lot 561, and included in the exhibition A Romance with Jade. From the De An Tang Collection, Palace Museum, Beijing, 2004, cat. no. 19.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. Hong Kong | 09 oct. 2012 www.sothebys.com