Chinese Civilian Rank Badge Set
This civilian rank badge set was made in China in the 19th century. It is made out of silk and metallic thread.
Rank badges were worn on surcoats to identify an individual’s governmental standing. The badges were made in two halves so they could be placed on either side of a font-opening coat. Wives and children wore the rank badge of their father or husband. Different animals represented different ranks, and the way the animal was position often indicates if the badge was made for a man or woman.
These are the badges of a civilian official of the ninth rank. The left facing paradise flycatcher is perched on rock within a celestial landscape of waters and skies with cloud bands, auspicious symbols and a solar disk. This bird is identifiable as a paradise flycatcher because of its tail, which is composed of two long feathers which are narrower at the base than at the end. Each tail feather should also have a single dot, those these are often hard to see because of fading.
These two badges are identical, which means that one would have been put on the back of the official’s coat, and the other on the front. The badge on the front would have been divided in two to fit on both sides of the front opening of the surcoat. The birds are worked in satin stitched silk while the metallic threads are applied with a couching technique.
Circa: 19th century
Material: Silk and metallic thread embroidery on silk ground
Condition: Minor fraying to the metallic thread borders, very good
Dimensions: 11" x 12"
Inventory number: TX3983-4