Nyoi ippon



Zen teaching scepter
Single block of boxwood
Edo-Meiji period, 19th century
H. : 55 cm

The nyoi is a scepter of power used ritually by the Zen masters in Japan. Originally from China, where it is called ruyi (literally “as you wish”), this object has its origins in Taoist worship as auspicious symbol of good luck and longevity. The shape of the nyoi reminds of that of the reishi mushroom (lingzhi in Chinese), known as an elixir of longevity. Above and beyond its ritual use, the nyoi is an emblematic okimono, particularly popular among Japanese scholars in their acceptance of karamono, which is to say objects from China, even though many nyoi are of Japanese origin.