In the Ching dynasty the outer garment was a surcoat with a front opening, so the front badge was divided and was worn on the half to be worn on right and left side of the opening.
Civilian Chinese rank badges are represented by birds while military rank Sare represented by real or mystical animals known for courage. The officials wives wore the rank of their husbands but their creatures faced right while their husbands’ faced left.
During the Ming dynasty the badges were large and often included more than one animal, their decorating schemes do not have the three elements of the universe but instead feature large flowers, usually peonies. Ching dynasty badges are a representation of the universe and include sky, sea and land. Sun disk is also a Ching dynasty feature. Both Ming and Ching badges feature symbols of status and good luck. A canopy over the animal, bats in the sky and any of the twelve precious symbols either in water or the sky would all signify wishes for good luck while using precious materials such as pearls, corals, peacock feathers. Silver thread would represent wealth. In addition to rank badges, hat decorations and belt plaques also indicated rank.
Both civilian and military hierarchy had nine ranks made of up 3 ranks each. The multiplication of three is important in Chinese numerology (nine dragon robes, for example). Each rank had a different animal or bird and how they get identified depends on many details.