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Some of the most important examples of eastern arts now in the western world

China [Asia]

Ruyi sceptre 18th century

Nephrite jade, silk | 34.0 x 10.0 x 2.7 cm (excluding fittings) | RCIN 23692

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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The ruyi sceptre with undulating shaft and turned-over head. The shaft carved in relief with a lingzhi spray, and the head with a bat; the bottom pierced for attaching the yellow silk tassel, with a spray of lily, the bloom hollowed to hold a gemstone, and a fruit spray.


The ruyi sceptre with head in the form of the sacred lingzhi fungus was a time-honoured symbol of authority; for examples made in other materials in the Collection- see in carved red lacquer (RCIN 10805) and cloisonné enamel (RCIN 11701).

Text adapted from Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen: Volume III.

  • Creator(s)

    China [Asia] (place of production)

    Chinese (nationality)

  • 34.0 x 10.0 x 2.7 cm (excluding fittings)

    64.8 x 10.0 x 2.7 cm (loop, tassel etc extended)

  • Acquired by Queen Mary before 1920.

    Possibly one of a number of ruyi originally presented to members of Lord Macartney’s Embassy of 1792–4. A very similar ruyi, presented to Sir George Staunton, 1st Baronet (1737–1801), second-in-command of the mission, was subsequently bequeathed by him to the Royal Asiatic Society and donated in 1925 to the Victoria and Albert Museum (Mus. No.A.17–1925).