Gold Ruyi Scepter Engraved with Floral Designs - View 1

The Palace Museum

The Palace Museum
Beijing, China

This decorative object is a ritual implement known as a ruyi scepter (ruyi means "according to one's wishes" and is the actual name of the object in Chinese). When laid on its flat back, the long handle or body of the scepter creates a convex arc. The three main parts are known simply as the head, middle, and end (or tail); each of these parts features a prominent round or oval design that seems to expand from the core frame.
The design of the three inlaid embellishments is modeled after the prevalent style of ruyi scepters seen throughout the Qing palace. Covered with an exquisitely carved pattern of interlocking flowers, the entire object is hollow. Each oval embellishment is also hollow inside and complete with an ornate, hinged lid; incense was placed in these cleverly designed compartments. Each lid is topped with a floral design made of inlays of tourmalines as petals, pearls as stamens, and emeralds as leaves. Forming a colorful jeweled band on various features, a row of inlaid tourmalines, emeralds, sapphires, and pearls encircle each lid, each base of the round embellishments, and the scepter as a whole. Featuring a decorative knot in the design of the character for longevity (shou), a yellow silk tassel is fastened to the end of this magnificent work of imperial art.

full view of the item


  • Title: Gold Ruyi Scepter Engraved with Floral Designs - View 1
  • Physical Dimensions: length: 58 cm, head width: 16.5 cm
  • Provenance: Qing imperial collection
  • Type: metalwork
  • Medium: gold, pearl, ruby, tourmaline
  • Dynasty: Mid-Qing dynasty (1644-1911)

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