Horn Scepter

Artist: Jin Nong (1687-1763)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1726
H x W x D: 24.9 x 4.3 x 4.3 cm (9 13/16 x 1 11/16 x 1 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, fungus, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911)

To 1918
You Xiaoxi (late 19th-early 20th century), Shanghai, to 1918 [1]

From 1918 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), given by You Xiaoxi in 1918 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Miscellaneous List, S.I. 1374, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
You Xiaoxi (C.L. Freer source) late 19th-early 20th century


This small scepter is carved to resemble a woody fungus known in Chinese as lingzhi ("sacred fungus"). The plant is also called the "fungus of immortality" because it was believed to be a powerful ingredient in elixirs intended to prolong human life. An inscription on the base contains a cyclical date and a sobriquet, or art name, used by the painter and antiquarian, Jin Nong (1687-1763). Thus it is likely that this horn object was made for (or possibly made by) Jin Nong.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.