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An ovoid-shaped Chinese Ming period porcelain jar painted in rich blue around the sides with two five-clawed dragons among clouds and with rocks and waves below.  Round the shoulder a stylised shou (long life character) seems to grow out of the lotus

Extraordinary Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Royal Collection

China [Asia]

Ruyi sceptre 18th century

RCIN 23692

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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Jade has been highly prized in China throughout its history and carvings in its nephrite form date back to Neolithic times. However, in the West the stone remained largely unknown until the eighteenth century.

This jade carving is a ruyi sceptre, a time-honoured symbol of authority. It may have been among the gifts sent by the Qianlong Emperor (1736–95) to George III (1738–1820) in response to the first diplomatic Embassy to China, led by Lord Macartney in 1792–4. The Qianlong reign was a period of technical accomplishment in jade and hardstone carving and a wide range of pieces were produced.