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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world

China [Asia]

Ruyi sceptre and stand reign of Qianlong, 1736-95

RCIN 70708

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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In October 1860, the main residence of the Qing imperial family, Yuanmingyuan, was looted and then burnt by Anglo-French troops following the Second Opium War (1856–60). Numerous objects were taken from the imperial art collection and palace complex, which was known in the West as the 'Old Summer Palace'. The British Ambassador ordered that a prize sale to be held where anyone could bid for these items. Lieutenant General Henry Hope Crealock (1831–91) was among those who acquired pieces, and he later presented this ruyi (sceptre) to Queen Victoria in 1861.