Insignia for a 1st rank military official (qilin) - ROM2012_12853_3


Insignia for a 1st rank military official (qilin)

Medium:Silk tabby embroidered in silk floss and gold thread
Geography: China
Date: 19th Century
Period: Qing Dynasty
9 1/4 x 10 in.
Object number: 950.100.326.A-B
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Sigmund Samuel
Not on view

Small in size but big in meaning, such rank badges were stitched to the front of robes worn by military officers and their wives. Qilin advertised status as 1st rank in the Chinese military. The qilin mythical beast with its dragon’s head, stag’s body, fish scales and bear tail symbolized longevity, felicity, and wise administration. The flames from the body underscore the beast’s terrific force. The surrounding pine tree and peony motifs were believed to bring further riches, honours, and long life to the wearer.

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