This sceptre is accompanied by a silk brocade fitted presentation box
Many examples of embellished ruyi sceptres are known in the Palace collections, but none as sumptuously decorated as the present example. Made by Chinese craftsmen in Guangdong, this ruyi is believed to have been presented to the Emperor Qianlong as a gift from the Prince of Wales. This example is thought to be the only piece still in a private collection.
The bronze sceptre is lavishly set with multi-coloured glass and pearl beads and the ribboned emblems and dragonflies serve to form auspicious signs and symbolisms. The handle is decorated with a few of the Buddhist emblems while the bats are homophonous of fortune.
During the 18th century, a number of clocks and timepieces were imported to China from England where the clockmakers from Guangzhou emulated their technique and eventually succeeded in creating a large number of clocks that were not only mechanically accurate but also highly decorative.
For a very similar ruyi sceptre, see Timepieces Collected by Qing Dynasty Emperors in the Palace Museum, p. 206-7
Windmills, Joseph is recorded in G.H.Baillie, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World, vol. 1. A maker of very fine watches, he became Master of the Clockmakers Company in 1723.