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21 mars 2020

A superb imperial hardstone-embellished white jade ruyi sceptre, Qing dynasty, 18th-19th century



Lot 3640. A superb imperial hardstone-embellished white jade ruyi sceptre, Qing dynasty, 18th-19th century; 16 1/4 in. (41.2 cm.) longEstimate HKD 4,000,000 - HKD 6,000,000Price Realized HKD 14,100,000. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2011

The large sceptre is well carved from semi-translucent stone of creamy-white tone, finely inlaid with pink tourmaline, coral, lapis lazuli, malachite and turquoise, decorating the ruyi terminal with a garden scene of two bats in flight amidst peach branches growing from rockwork, the lower end of the terminal attached to the shaft with a finely detailed seated monkey 'pillar', the arched shaft inlaid with leafy bamboo branches and lily stems, above lingzhi and chrysanthemum growing from rockwork at the base of the shaft, stand, box.

Provenance: Acquired in Hong Kong during the 1950s.

NoteThe ruyi is of an exceptionally large size, and made all the more vibrant by the colourful inlays. The present ruyi appears to be the mirror image pair to an example in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Masterworks of Chinese Jade in the National Palace Museum - Supplement, Taipei, 1973, no. 28. A copy of the catalogue is available to the purchaser of this lot.

Another large sceptre decorated with inlays in a very similar style to the present lot, from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, was included in the 1995 exhibition, Auspicious Ju-I Sceptres of China, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 22. A pair of smaller ruyi sceptres inlaid with a design of quails and millet is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Jadeware (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 30.

Christie's. The Imperial Sale,  Hong Kong, 1 June 2011