Ming Dynasty ivory Hu, of tapering form, with curve to the length of the scepter, beautiful silky honeycoloured patina. Some darkening to the veining. Wear, minimal chipping and charming small old restoration in the lower part (by means of a small ancient copper clam).
These sceptres have been used since the Tang dynasty (618-907) as bamboo writing boards to note down the words of the emperor or of his representative. Gradually (Ming dynasty 1368-1644) they lost their function (as the notes were written by lower ranking clerks) but they remained powerful status symbols for those who were allowed to hold them. The jade hu sceptres were reserved for imperial attendants, the ivory hu sceptres for the higher aristocracy and the bamboo sceptres for the lower noblemen and administrators. In the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) this type of sceptre was replaced by a different type with a completely different shape: the ruyi sceptre.
Hu sceptres can be found in several museums in China and the Shengzhi private museum in Xuzhou city (Jiangsu province) shows similar sceptres with the similar type of (copper clam) restoration technique. They are dated from the Ming dynasty.
Heigth: 42cm Width: 5,4cm
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