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Small Red Sandalwood Ruyi Scepter with a Ruby Inlay

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Period: mid Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: red sandalwood, jade and ruby
Date: undated
Dimensions: Length: 28 cm

The head of this ruyi scepter is inlaid with a piece of round jade carved in imitation of a Warring States (475-221 BCE) style. The edge of the disk has openwork patterns and a ruby inlay at the center. The handle is divided into two sections by a white jade tube. Each wooden section has a protruding tenon for securing the jade tube. This design resembles a ruyi scepter mentioned in the Qinglong Emperor's (r. 1736-1795) poem, that says, "A handle is composed of white jade and fragrant sandalwood." These two materials were traditionally considered the most elegant, and were popularly used by aristocrats. The end of the scepter is decorated with a piece of jade with cloud patterns. This piece has a lithe symmetry, outstanding techniques and pleasing colors, beautifully complemented by the ruby inlay.

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