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Chinese Mandarin Rank badge of a Red Headed crane, c. 1850, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Chinese Mandarin Rank Badge or Mandarin Square. First rank, top, badge for one of the elite Mandarins. The bird is a Red Headed crane. The badge shows the bird stood on rock work in the midst of a turbulent sea with a stripy deep sea. The badge is intensely decorated all in gilt thread with the sun disk all in coral beads.
The background behind the bird shows ruyi headed clouds, stylized lotus strands with Buddhist and Taoist symbols.
the intense decoration is indicative of a weakening power of the Emperor. The Mandarin trying to add as many propitious symbols for fortune and favour.
The badge belonged to the wife of the Mandarin and would have been on the back of the robe as there is no join to the centre.
The first rank Mandarin was the highest attainable and their duties would have been attending the Emperor personally or grand secretary I the Forbidden city, or attending the heir apparent, or President of the Courts, Boards and censorate.

Silk and gilt thread. 48.50cm high, 49.00cm wide. SOLD

LITERATURE: See Ladder to the Clouds by Jackson and Hugus for more information and the History of Mandarin Badges, and see other examples of this badge

Chinese Military Mandarin pair of rank badges, c. 1860, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

A pair of Rank badges for the Military for the second rank embroidered with a Lion. The badge also shows eight of the Buddhist auspicious emblems both in the sky and the sea.
The animal is appliqued on to the badge where it is above a turbulent sea with the stripes couched in gilt and silver thread. The clouds are embroidered in blue silk and out lined in gilt thread
The duties of the second rank military official included The banner Captain General. Commandants of Divisions, brigade General and Major General.

Military rank badges are the rarer of the Mandarin Squares as fewer were issued as it was a smaller elite than the civil arm. When the Qing Dynasty was overturned then many of these badges were destroyed to protect their owners.

These are a true pair of badges. Silk. The size is of the badge not including the frame. 29.00cm high, 30.00cm wide. SOLD

PROVENANCE: private English collection

LITERATURE: For a similar example see Ladder to the clouds by Beverly Jackson and Michael Hugus no. 15.063

Chinese pair of Mandarin Rank Badges, 1850 to 1870, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Pair of Mandarin Squares / Mandarin Rank badges second rank Golden Pheasant. Made after 1850 but before 1870 all embroidered in the finest of gilt thread. This excellent work and shows great detail to the bird and the background only a skilled embroiderer would have been capable of such fine work.
The border is made up of bats and shou signs for fortune and longevity, see Ladder to the Clouds Beverly Jackson and David Hugus plate 13.015 for a similar border. the back ground behind the bird is made of intense embroidery of ruyi headed clouds, with auspicious Buddhist emblems. the bottom part of the badge shows a stripy turbulent sea.
So many auspicious emblems on a badge indicates that the influence of the Emperor was waning and the Mandarin was trying to provide ‘good luck’ for himself to enable him to hold such a high office under the next Emperor. The planer the badge the more powerful the Emperor’s influence.
The second rank Mandarin would hold one of the following positions, Deputy Attendant to the Heir Apparent, vice Presidents for Courts and Boards, Ministers of the Imperial Household, Governor General of the Provinces, superintendent of Finance and Chancellor of the Hanlin Institute.
The fineness of the Badges would suggest a very senior Mandarin.
This pair of Badges are from the man’s robe and not his wife’s robe. Always desirable to have the exact pair of badges. The badge from the front was made in two sections so that it went either side of the opening on the front of the robe. In conserving badges the front badge is always sewn loosely and carefully together.

Silk and gilt thread. 29.00cm high, 30.00cm wide. SOLD

LITERATURE: Ladder to the Clouds by Beverly Jackson and David Hugus

Chinese Mandarin rank badge of a silver Pheasant, c. 1850, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Mandarin Rank badge often called a Chinese Square with the Silver pheasant which is the fifth rank in The Chinese Civil Service. The square was from the back of a man’s robe.
Embroidered in three coloured gilt thread showing the Pheasant stood on rock work with an intensely decorated sky of ruyi headed clouds and Buddhist emblems.
The sea around and below the pheasant shows a turbulent sea with ruyi headed waves and a stripy effect to demonstrate depth.
The sun disk is made up of very small coral beads.
the fifth rank official would have been responsible for salt distribution or were deputy supervisors of Instruction in Imperial and Hanlin Institutions, or Sub prefects or Librarians.
All framed and conserved. Silk and gilt thread. 48.50cm high, 49.00cm wide. SOLD

LITERATURE: The best book is ladder to the Clouds by Jackson and Hugus, there are similar to this piece in the book. or Silken Threads by Young Yang Chung

Chinese Mandarin rank badge of a silver Pheasant, c. 1860, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Mandarin rank badge or Mandarin square antique Chinese insignia badge. Made to be worn by a mandarin / civil servant of the fifth rank civil mandarin. The embroidery shows a silver pheasant amongst clouds and buddhist emblems above a stripey sea. The work is enhanced in gilt thread couched for affect. The badge has many emblems for fortune and luck which implies it was made towards the end of an Emperor’s reign as this amount of decoration was not much appreciated by strong Emperors. 

Silk. 32.00cm high, 48.50cm wide. SOLD

Chinese Mandarin rank badge, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Chinese Mandarin Rank badge made after 1860 and before 1890. 6th Rank civil badge of an Egret from the back of a man’s official robe. All in couched gilt thread to show the bird perched on a rock and surrounded by intense decoration of clouds that contain buddhist symbols. Around the rock is a turbulent stripey sea. and a border of flower heads.

A sixth rank official could be in charge of the secretaries and Tutors at the Imperial Academy or a Magistrate or an Astronomer.

As an Emperor’s power waned so the badges became more and more elaborate for added luck and prestige.

Silk. 31.00cm high, 30.00cm wide. All framed and conserved: 48.50cm high, 49.00cm wide. SOLD

LITERATURE: Read ‘Ladder to the Clouds’ by Beverly Jackson and Michael Hugus

Antique Chinese Mandarin rank badge, c. 1860, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Kesi style mandarin gank badg some times called mandarin square. this a 6th rank badge of an egret. This style of square was often made when the amount of silk was critical as there was not much. From the front of a robe where it was made in two pieces and sewn either side of the front opening of the robe. Made after 1850. Silk. 32.00cm high, 48.50cm wide. Price: GBP 450.00
The piece is in excellent condition and has been conserved and framed

Chinese Kesi Mandarin Rank badge, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Mandarin rank badge of an Egret which is the 6th rank.. this type of rank badge was produced when the amount of silk was on the low side. Excellent condition and framed and conserved. Silk. 32.00cm high, 48.50cm wide. Price: GBP 650.00
This was from the back of the robe

Chinese Mandarin Rank Badge, 1850 to 1870, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Mandarin rank badge of a 6th rank ‘Egret’. This has come from the front of a woman’s robe. All embroidered in couched gilt thread above a lingzhi ‘stripey’ turbulent sea. The rest of the badge has intense decoration of clouds and buddhist emblems. Made after 1850 and before 1870.
Framed and conserved. It was made in two halves so they would have been applied on either side of the opening of the robe. Silk. SOLD

Chinese Mandarin rank badge, c. 1860, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Chinese rank badge for the 8th rank. It is embroidered in Peking Knot work to show a quail. The surrounding auspicious emblems, sun, sea and clouds are also in knot work.
The back ground on the badge is covered in couched gilt thread although this has faded slightly.
The badge has been framed and conserved. Silk and gilt thread. 29.50cm high, 30.00cm wide. Price: GBP 750.00

LITERATURE: For similar badge see Ladder to the Clouds 12.029 shows a similar Quail badge. ladder to the Clouds by Beverly Jackson and Michael Hugus

Chinese Mandarin rank badge, c. 1850, Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) © 2014 LAPADA

Chinese Mandarin rank badge, eighth rank civil badge. the badge shows a quail in gilt thread above a stripy turbulent sea. The sun is shown using coiled coral beads in a roundel.
The sky has intense silk embroidery of blue clouds picked out with gilt thread. The sky also has some of the Buddhist sacred items. The badge is surrounded with a border of shou signs and bats for health, longevity and happiness. Overall a lavish badge
the less cluttered the badge the more power and settled an Emperor. Badge was made after 1850
The badge was made for the front of a woman’s robe and was there fore made in two halves and these have now been joined together for conservation. The wife’s badge faced the opposite way to the husband’s badge this was so when they were seated facing their audience, the wife always sat on the left, their birds or animals on the badge would be facing each other.
The eighth rank Mandarin would have been, In charge of studies outside Beijing, a salt examiner, Prefectural secretary or an assistant district magistrate.
All framed and conserved correctly. Silk and gilt thread. 49.00cm high, 50.00cm wide. Price: GBP 780.00

PROVENANCE: From a private English Collection

CATHERINE HUNT ORIENTAL ANTIQUES. The Association of Art and Antique Dealers – LAPADA