VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Sceptre/ Ruyi
MPE 143440
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This ruyi, carved in a single jade piece of great size, shows the refinement and the high level of execution of an imperial order. The connection between jade, as a symbol of immortality, and the image of the eight Taoists immortals which decorate it, enhances its symbolic value.

History of the Object
Given to Enrico Hillyer Giglioli in 1903, by W. Rothschild. On the label, hand-written by Giglioli: "Taken in 1900 in the Imperial Palace of Peking, during the sack of Euro-Japanese troupes. Dr. E. Ehrenfreund R.M. assured me this ju-i was under a glass case in the Emperor’s antechamber, where he saw it with another similar. He recognized mine immediately. They were unique pieces!”

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Type
Costume and Jewelry 
Materials
Carved jade, silk threads 
Measurements
Width 14 cm. Length 36 cm.  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
18th Century; 1736 - 1785 (Qianlong period) 
Function
Symbol of power, it used to lay at the foot of imperial throne on a splendid silk textile. Usually made of precious materials like jade, the ruyi was presented as a mark of esteem or as a well-wishing object, mostly on the occasion of an imperial birthday or the new year. According to widespread belief, the ruyi sceptre holds ruyibao, the stone which fulfils wishes. 
Acquisition
From Enrico Hillyer Gigliol's ethnographical collection which was purchased by the Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini, Roma in 1913 (see n°143235) 
Copyright
©Soprintendenza al Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini, Roma 
Acknowledgements
Text: Nadia Fiussello, Loretta Paderni Photo: Giorgio Bronchi, Fabio Naccari ©Soprintendenza al Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini, Roma 
Owner
Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini, RomeState property, Italy 
Museum
Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico  
Credit line
 

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