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Red Sandalwood Ruyi Sceptre with the Eight Trigrams

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Period: mid Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: red sandalwood, jade, and gold
Date: undated
Dimensions: length: 40.3 cm

Jade panels decorated the head, the middle, and the end of the face of this ruyi sceptre. Divided into two groups, the Eight Trigrams (bagua) made of gold are inlaid on either side of the handle. A seven-character inscription is incised in intaglio on the back.  
  This septre typifies the so-called "Ruyi sceptre with three ancient jade inlays" (Sanxiang ruyi) of the mid Qing dynasty. The jade openwork ornamenting the head depicts the theme of "a hawk seizing a swan". The hawk was a totem of the Jurchen tribe, the origin of the Manchus who established the Jin dynasty (1115-1234). This rare antique jade that was made of "spring water jade" (chunshui yu) dates to the Liao (1066-1125) and Jin period. The gold Eight Trigrams add mystery to the sceptre.

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