19th C. Chinese Silver Pheasant Rank Badge Embroidery on Silk

Regular price $80.00

Always learning! I found this beautiful antique embroidery on silk the other day in Maine and knew it was a special thing, and have since learned about Chinese Rank Badges, of which it is one. Rank Badges (also called rank insignia or Mandarin squares) were used in China during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties to demonstrate the wearer’s rank—birds for civil officials and animals for military officials. During the Qing dynasty rank badge design was regulated, and certain creatures were associated with specific ranks; this is a Silver Pheasant, indicating fifth rank. I believe this one dates to the early 19th century and incorporated gold thread embroidery for the ground and border, with auspicious Daoist symbols including lotus leaves, and a duck swimming along  to the right of the pheasant. The reverse is blue silk.

10 7/8" x 11 5/8". There is what appears to be a bit of a burn to the surface of the piece at lower right, and the embroidered border has come loose from the main piece just in that area (it will sit fine on top, but can be pulled apart as photos show.) There is also a very small threadbare area just above the right wing of the pheasant. I've included in photos a picture of a very similar example just sold via Ruby Lane at a list price of $2500!