Lot 1440. A rare bamboo veneer ruyi scepter, 18th century; 13¾ in. (35 cm.) long. Estimate USD 20,000 - USD 30,000. Price realised USD USD 21,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011
The ruyi-shaped head finely decorated in low relief with a fruiting peach branch, the shaped rectangular panel in the center of the arched shaft decorated with a branch of finger citron and the ruyi-shaped tip decorated with a fruiting pomegranate branch, the three combined forming the sanduo, the rest of the shaft finely incised with a flowering prunus branch and a pine tree growing beside lingzhi, each vignette within a raised, conjoined foliate border.
Property from the Collection of Philip Wood, San Francisco.
Note: The term ruyi means 'as you wish' and was among the auspicious gifts most prized by the Qianlong Emperor. It was believed that this fungus-shaped scepter would bring good fortune to its owner.
The sanduo represent the 'Three Abundances', and express the wish for an abundance of blessings, long life and sons. The wish for longevity is reinforced by the depiction of prunus and pine, as well as the shape of the ruyi head, as all symbolize longevity.
Other bamboo veneer ruyi scepters are published. One of slightly larger size (46.5 cm.) decorated with the Eight Buddhist Emblems in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795, London, 2005, p. 368, pl. 274; another is included in the Min Chiu Society exhibition, Auspicious Emblems: Chinese Cultural Treasures - 45th Anniversary Exhibition of the Min Chiu Society, Hong Kong, 2006, p. 270, pl. 173.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I and Part II Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 24 March 2011