Silver Pheasant Civilian Rank Badge
This silver pheasant civilian rank badge was made in China in the late 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, or whole if they were going to be put on the back of the 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 the badge of a civilian official of the fifth rank. The badge features a silver pheasant facing to the left against a sky with cloud bands and a solar disk. The silver pheasant is easily identified by the crested head and the five long tail feathers with serrated edges. This badge would have been applied to the back of a surcoat. Satin stitched silk threads and couched metallic thread. The silver pheasant seems to be the most common badge found today. Fully twenty five percent of the mandarins failed to reach the upper ranks of the civil service. Apparently most of these moderately successful bureaucrats accumulated at the fifth rank.
Circa: Late 19th century
Material: Silk and metallic thread embroidery on silk ground
Condition: Fading to the blues as seen in photos, good
Dimensions: 12" x 12"
Inventory number: TX3941