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Chinese Mandarin Rank badge of a Red Headed crane

Framed Height
49 cm (19 1/4")
Framed Width
49 cm (19 1/4")
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.
Framed Height
49 cm (19 1/4")
Framed Width
49 cm (19 1/4")
c 1850
silk and gilt thread
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
perfect and dramed and conserved