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PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

A RARE AND LARGE WHITE JADE 'BATS' RUYI SCEPTRE
QING DYNASTY, 18TH/19TH CENTURY
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 125,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
23

PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

A RARE AND LARGE WHITE JADE 'BATS' RUYI SCEPTRE
QING DYNASTY, 18TH/19TH CENTURY
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 125,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Chinese Art

|
London

A RARE AND LARGE WHITE JADE 'BATS' RUYI SCEPTRE
QING DYNASTY, 18TH/19TH CENTURY
the large naturalistically carved ruyi-shaped head detailed with a bat perched on top with wings outstretched, the curved and elongated arched shaft intricately carved with three smaller bats near the head, with further stylised ruyi scrolls along the shaft leading to fruiting nandina berries and foliage at the lower end, with a fifth bat at the terminal resting on a pair of peaches above the reticulated lower edge, the smoothly polished stone of an even white tone
49 cm, 19 1/4  in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Purchased from Stanley Charles Nott, London, between 1947-1948.

Catalogue Note

This elaborately carved sceptre is impressive and rare for its large size and complex design. Its complex composition of a naturalistically carved lingzhi head, with further lingzhi emerging from the shaft above nandina berries and orchid leaves, exemplifies the craftsman’s high level of artistic and technical skill in harmoniously weaving all the elements together. Such skill is further emphasised in the combination of high relief carving and openwork together with finely carved details, evident in the modelling of the plants where different textures have been captured. Furthermore, the natural inclusions of the boulder have been cleverly incorporated within the decoration to enhance the aesthetic of the piece.

Large jade boulders only became available in increased quantities after the Western campaigns of 1759, when the Manchu court gained control over areas of Khotan and Yarkand, in present day Xinjiang. A steady supply of high-quality jade from this jade-rich region was subsequently presented to the Qing court in spring and autumn of every year. The finest specimens were then transformed to aesthetically pleasing objects by artisans working in the Zaobanchu (Palace Workshops), as well as in the jade workshops in Suzhou and Yangzhou.

It is rare to find sceptres of these proportions; related smaller naturalistically carved examples include two sold in our Hong Kong rooms, the first carved from white jade, decorated with two smaller lingzhi and a bat on the lingzhi-form terminal and additional lingzhi fungus and leaves on the shaft, attributed to the Qianlong period, sold 19th May 1982, lot 388, and the other carved from celadon and russet jade, rendered with a stylised dragon on the head and two chi­-dragons on the elongated handle, 17th May 1977, lot 312; a yellow jade version carved with entwined branches of lingzhi fungus on the curved shaft, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 2nd October 1991, lot 1459; and a celadon jade example, carved with a cluster of lingzhi fungus on the shaft, attributed to the 19th century, in the Avery Brundage collection and now in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, illustrated in  René-Yvon Lefebvre d’Argencé, Chinese Jades in the Avery Brundage Collection, Tokyo, 1977, pl. LXXIX.

While the ruyi (meaning ‘as you wish’) sceptre is already a highly auspicious object favoured for its form, the carefully chosen motifs on the present piece further emphasise its propitiousness. The bats, together with peaches and lingzhi fungus collectively form the rebus ‘May your heart be filled with intelligence when blessings arrive’ (fuzhi xinling). 

Important Chinese Art

|
London