rank insignia; textile; Mandarin square

Front one of a pair of rank badges for a mandarin with couched gold-and silver-coloured metal-wrapped thread embroidery on a black silk satin ground. This badge has been divided into 2 halves to allow for the front opening in the robe. The textile square is backed on light blue tabby-woven silk. It depicts a bird (Silver Pheasant) standing with one claw on a rock with its wings spread. The silver pheasant was worn by mandarins of the fifth rank during the Qing period. It is surrounded by water, flowers, clouds, 4 bats and other symbols, including a sword, fan, scroll, canopy, the Buddhist wheel of law, endless knot and double gourd. The sun has been filled with small red beads of coral or carnelian. The silver pheasant denotes that these are badges of a 5th rank civil official. The sun on top left indicates that the badge is for the mandarin himself, not his wife (whose badge would be a mirror-image). The sun has been filled with small red beads (coral or carnelian?).

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