Chinese sceptre smashes record

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A CHINESE sceptre dating back to the 18th century, which may have been used as a back scratcher, has smashed a Bury St Edmunds auction house record.

Lacy Scott and Knight sold the carved zitan ruyi sceptre to a Chinese buyer in Cambridge on Saturday for £130,000 – roughly 13 times what had been predicted. It was the house record for a work of art sold at the Bury salesroom.

Edward Crichton, from Lacy Scott and Knight, said: “It came from a property at a West Suffolk village. It was on show in the vendor’s home and he was aware that the market for Chinese goods is very strong at the moment.

“They are quite rare pieces and worth a lot of money.”

The sceptre dates back from the Chinese Imperial Qing Dynasty Qianlong period which lasted from 1736 to 1795. Ruyi means as you wish and the sceptres, which have early links with Buddhism, may have originally been used as a back scratcher. They became Imperial talismans given to bestow good fortune – and remain incredibly rare.

The same man also sold two other ancient Chinese artefacts for a total of £37,000.