White jade ruyi sceptre valued at $233,500 in Sotheby's auction

Sotheby's will sell a white jade ruyi, or sceptre, as part of its London auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, which will be held on May 15.

White jade ruyi sceptre
The sceptre was intended to bestow a long and happy life on the Nepali maharaja

The item holds historical importance, having been given by Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) - former head of the Chinese Nationalist Government - to Maharaja Sir Padma Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal in 1945. As such, it is expected to sell for £100,000-150,000 ($155,542-233,313).

Ruyi are ceremonial objects that were traditionally given by the Chinese emperor to his officers and subjects as rewards, sometimes being gifted to kings and heads of state, such as George III and the maharaja.

The present example is decorated with five bats and the shou character on the head, bestowing the maharaja with a long and happy life. It is extremely rare to find ruyi of this size, as boulders large enough to carve to this length (42.5cm) are incredibly scarce. The quality of the jade used is exceptionally fine, sporting an even white colour with minor russet shading.

The sceptre has been consigned from the property of Princess Rama Malla of Nepal.

Jiaqing famille-rose vases
A tremendous wedding gift for those with a large enough budget

Also starring is a pair of lime green ground famille-rose vases bearing Jiaqing (1760-1820) seal marks, which have been consigned from Cluny Castle in Scotland.

Estimated at £200,000-300,000 ($311,084-466,626), they are decorated with butterflies and bats with knots, suggesting they were produced as marriage gifts.

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