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Ruyi Scepters with Jewelry Inlays

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Period: mid Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: wood and various semi-precious stones
Format: a set of nine

Date: undated
Dimensions: each length: 41.5 cm

This set consists of nine ruyi scepters. Besides one in the form of a longevity fungus, the other eight pieces are in four pairs, the heads of which are designed as pomegranates, Buddha's hand, peaches, and butterflies on watermelons (see details). The longevity fungus is made of red agate using its natural color and design. Many precious stones are inlaid on each piece to create patterns: stained ivory for leaves, white jade for petals, gold for pistils, and various pieces of carved jade for fruits and vegetables. One design depicts butterflies resting on a melon. The extreme luxury of these scepters sheds light on the grandness of imperial ceremonies. Each pair has an implied meaning. For instance, the one with pomegranate is a wish for many offspring. The scepter with the longevity fungus means that one is truly outstanding.

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