Military Rank Badge Set (Lions)
This military 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.
This is pair of badges would have been worn by a military official of the second rank. These badges would be worn on the front and back of a surcoat with front opening so the badge cut in half would go on the front and the whole badge would be on the back. The lion initially served as the insignia for the first and second military ranks. The chi-lin replaced it for the first rank in the 17th century but the lion retained its place as the second rank animal throughout the Qing dynasty. Lions on older rank badges have manes and tails with curly hair, like this lion. This lion is also perched in the typical position on a rock surrounded by clouds, auspicious symbols, and a sun disk, all above tri-colored waters. Executed in kosu weave with drawn details. Lined with blue silk.
Circa: 19th century
Dimensions: 11" x 12" each
Inventory number: TX4160