About this object

Solid jade sceptre or ruyi with fine relief carvings of lotus and foliage designs on the undulating handle. The head is also carved with lotus and a yin-yang symbol.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Personal Object
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Asia: Eastern Asia: China
  • Date made
    17th Century
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    From the Collection of Sir Charles Bell
  • Collector
    Charles Alfred Bell
  • Place collected
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang: Lhasa
  • Date collected
    16th October 1921
  • Measurements
    35 mm x 69 mm x 316 mm; 1 3/8 in x 2 11/16 in x 12 7/16 in
  • Note
    List of Curios No A96:
    (6) Jade stick with crook on the top for hanging on a pillar and for use in the presence of the Emperor of China. The Dalai Lama told me that the above Nos. 91 -97 were all given by the then Emperor of China to the 5th Dalai lama, who visited the Emperor in Peking. This was afterwards confirmed by the Tsarong Shape (Tibet's Commander in Chief) speaking to Kennedy [Chief Medical Officer with Lhasa Mission 1920-21].

    Curator note's: Ruyi are important symbols of power and were often given as gifts by the Chinese Emperor to foreign dignitaries as a sign of status.

    Written by Emma Martin
  • Related people
    13th Dalai Lama (gifted by); Charles Alfred Bell (Collector); Dasang Damdul Tsarong (described by)

Where is this object from?

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  • List of Curios

    Bell, Charles Alfred

    Author: Bell, Charles Alfred
    Description: A typed object catalogue from Bell's handwritten notes on a wide variety of objects from his personal collection. This information often contains, the date he obtained an object, its provenance (including where and who he acquired from) and the person responsible for giving him the information. The process of writing the inventory began in December 1912 and continued until the late 1930s.

  • Tibet: Catalogue of Exhibits

    Tankard, Elaine

    Author: Tankard, Elaine
    Publisher: Liverpool Public Museums
    Date: 1953-03
    Description: Introductory essay and catalogue entries, in themes, for the 1953 exhibition; 'Tibet', held at the Walker Art Gallery.


  • Sir Charles Bell's Mission to Lhasa 1920 - 1921

    Start date: 1920-11-17
    End date: 1920-11-17
    Description: Having retired from the Indian Civil Service in 1918, due to health problems, Bell was recalled to service in 1920. His decision to return rested upon the decision to send him to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, a place that he had never been granted permission to visit, but which the 13th Dalai Lama had repeatedlyinvited him to. While waiting in Gyantse Bell received the call that he could proceed to Lhasa and so during November 1920, Bell, the chief medical officer Mr Dyer (who was later replaced by Col. Kennedy) and a large entourage of staff and advisors, including Palhese, Rabten Lepcha (Bell's 'photo orderly') and his Confidential Clerk, Achuk Tsering (who would die of influenza only days after reaching Lhasa) travelled to Lhasa, arriving on 17th November 1921. Bell stayed in Lhasa for 11 months, witnessing many festivals and political disputes. His own life appears to have been in danger during the Butter Sculpture Festival, due to the 13th Dalai Lama's willingness to listen to Bell's position on taxes and developing the army, something deeply opposed by factions of the ultra conservative monastic community. This mission was to be the highlight of Bell's career and has been described as the pinacle of Anglo-Tibetan relations in the 20th century.

Object view = Humanities
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