An exquisite white jade 'dragon' ruyi sceptre Qianlong
Lot 208
An exquisite white jade 'dragon' ruyi sceptre Qianlong
HK$ 3 million - 4 million
US$ 390,000 - 520,000
Lot Details
An exquisite white jade 'dragon' ruyi sceptre
The lustrous, well polished stone skilfully worked in varying levels of relief, the handle depicted with a gnarled undulating stem climbing over the length of the handle, bearing striated leaves and peony blossoms formed of individually carved petals, reaching over the top of the ruyi head and forming its crest, the ruyi head with a bat on one side and a bifurcated-tail chilong dragon glancing over its back towards the handle, looking at a chilong clambering towards the ruyi head between peony sprays.
39.8cm (15½in) long.


  • Provenance:
    Sotheby's Paris, 6 December 2007, lot 32

    清乾隆 白玉雕螭龍牡丹紋如意


    The current ruyi sceptre pays testament to the extraordinary levels of achievement by Imperial craftsmen in the Qianlong era, when abundant sources of high quality Khotan jade became available to the Court.

    Ruyi sceptres reached their artistic zenith as a result of the Qianlong emperor's official request for ruyi sceptres to be presented by courtiers on Imperial birthdays and New Year celebrations; see E.R. Rawsky and J. Rawson, eds., China: The Three Emperors, 1662-1795, London, 2005, pl. 282. The sceptre conveyed wishes of longevity as symbolised in the lingzhi fungus-shaped head and in the meaning of ruyi 'as you wish', thus making it an appropriate present on the event of an Imperial birthday and the beginning of a New Year.

    The Qing Dynasty Imperial interest in precious objects, including ruyi sceptres, is well illustrated in a white jade ruyi sceptre depicted in the Guwan tu scroll (Pictures of Ancient Playthings), scroll no.6, 1728, by anonymous Court artists, in the Percival David Foundation, London, see E.R. Rawsky and J. Rawson, eds., op.cit., Catalogue no.168.

    Compare a related ruyi-sceptre from the Qing Court Collection, carved with a dragon and a phoenix clambering on the handle towards the lingzhi shaped head, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Jadeware, Vol.III, Hong Kong, 1995, pl.29.


    隨著乾隆皇室對如意的需求增加,以作皇室慶典及恭賀新禧之用,如意的工藝亦到了一個頂峰的水平,可參考Evelyn S. Rawsky 及 Jessica Rawson編,China : the Three Emperors, 1662-1795,倫敦,2005,圖版282。靈芝常象徵長壽,加上「如意」二字含諸事順遂之意,因此如意經常成為賀壽送禮的佳品。

    清宮對古玩瑰寶尤其鍾愛,如Percival David Foundation藏《古玩圖》中便有描繪出一件精緻的白玉如意,見Evelyn S. Rawsky 及 Jessica Rawson一書,圖版168。