Ruyi (Wish-granting Wand)


Ruyi (Wish-granting Wand)



Ruyi means ‘as you wish’. During the Qing dynasty, many of these auspicious wish-granting wands were made as presents for the emperors to bestow on their favourite courtiers and for the courtiers to present to the emperors and empresses during the new year or on special occasions, such as birthdays and weddings.
The cinnabar lacquer handle of this wand is inset with three pieces of grey-green nephrite. The headpiece, shaped like a fungus of immortality (lingzhi), shows a basket in low relief, with another wand shown behind it. The basket contains the fungi of immortality, bamboo, narcissus, and a peach. Together, these form a pictorial pun representing the phrase “May the heavenly immortals bring birthday greetings”. The jade plaque in the centre shows a bat (pun for blessings) hovering above a branch of peaches (symbol of immortality) to represent blessings and longevity. In the last piece, a fungus of immortality grows next to a rock. Together, they convey a wish for longevity.
The multiple longevity symbols on this wand indicate that it is a birthday gift. The yellow tassels give further proof that it is originally from the Qing palace, yellow being the imperial colour.

Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection


Chinese Art

Object Type

Decorative Art


Nephrite, wood, Cinnabar lacquer


Qing dynasty


jade carving


18th century CE




Length: 53.8 cm