RU-YI (如意) literally "as one wishes; as you wish" is a curved decorative object that is a ceremonial scepter symbolizing power, longevity, harmony and good fortune in Chinese culture. A traditional RU-YI has a long S-shaped handle and a head fashioned like a cloud or LING-ZHI mushroom.RU-YI are constructed from diverse materials.
For example, the Beijing Palace Museum has nearly 3,000 RU-YI that are variously made from valuables like gold, silver, iron, bamboo, wood, ivory, coral, rhinoceros horn, lacquer, crystal, jade, and precious gems. The RU-YI image frequently appears as a motif in Asian art.
The Chinese term RU-YI is a compound of RU ( 如 ) "as; like; such as; as if; for example; supposing; be like; be similar; accord with" and YI ( 意 ) "wish; will; desire; intention; suggestion; thought; idea; meaning; imagination".
This combination suggests a verb or adjective to render an aspiration of a wish come true according to your heart’s desires. Add it to another well-meaning term and the sentence is expounded with a punch beyond description. One example is, RU-YI SUAN-PAN (如 意 算 盤) with the abacus added to RU-YI throws up a brand new meaning of ‘smug calculations’, a glowing tribute to one who manages figures like notes to a song.
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE), RU-YI became popular as ornaments or gifts symbolizing blessings and good luck. The Zhang-WUZI (長 物 志), (1627 CE) "Treatise on Superfluous Things", by Ming painter WEN ZENGHEN, discussed RU-YI aesthetics.
The RU-YI was used in ancient times to give directions or to protect oneself from the unexpected. It was for this reason that it was made or iron, and not on the basis of strictly aesthetic considerations. If you can obtain an old iron RU-YI inlaid with gold and silver, that sparkle now and them, and if it has an ancient dull color, this is the best.
During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 CE), RU-YI scepters became luxuriant symbols of political power that were regularly used in imperial ceremonies, and were highly valued as gifts to and from the Emperor of China. Since 1, 6, 8 and 9 are considered lucky numbers in Chinese culture, Qing craftsmen elaborated the traditional with precious stones set in both ends and middle of the handle and presented the Fan of Nine RU-YI (九 九 如 意) to the Emperor QIAN-LONG for eternal success and harmony.
In art, RU-YI scepters often appear as attributes of Buddhist saints and Daoist xian. The god of prosperity Cai Shen 財神 is often depicted holding a RU-YI. Stylized repetitions of the shape are incorporated as a motif in the depiction of heavenly clouds. RU-YI symbolize achieving prosperity in fengshui practice. The RU-YI shape appears as a motif in decorative knots, Oriental rug patterns, folk artifacts, and even modern corporate logos. Stylized RU-YI often function as a kind of ante-fixae or palmette in traditional and modern architecture.
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