Ruyi sceptre

Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Qianlong reign, Qianlong reign, 1736-1796
Gold, turquoise, silk
H x W x D: 24.4 x 6 x 4.3 cm (9 5/8 x 2 3/8 x 1 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


bat, Buddhism, China, Daoism, peach, Qianlong reign (1736 - 1796), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911)
Provenance research underway.

This ruyi scepter was presented to the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1736-96) in 1783. The word ruyi literally means "as you wish," and decorative scepters such as this symbolized good wishes. The head of this scepter is decorated with ornaments of turquoise: both bats and peaches are emblems of good fortune and immortality in Chinese lore.

Published References
  • Smithsonian Institution. Report of the Secretary, 1938. Washington, 1938-1939. pl. 1.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 109, vol. 1: p. 176.
  • Dr. Berthold Laufer, Parish-Watson Company. The Gold Treasure of the Emperor Chien Lung of China. Chicago and New York. cat. 8, pp. 25, 27.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 27.
  • Roger Soame Jenyns, William Watson. Chinese Art, The Minor Arts: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Cloisonne, Cantonese enamel, Lacquer, Furniture, Wood. The Universe Library of Antique Art vol. 2 New York. p. 43.
  • Joe Dan Lowry, Joe P. Lowry. Turquoise: The World Story of a Fascinating Gemstone. Layton, Utah. p. 56.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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