Insignia for a 9th rank noble or 1st rank military official (qilin) - ROM2008_9901_17


Insignia for a 9th rank noble or 1st rank military official (qilin)

Medium:Silk and gold tapestry (kesi) with painted details
Geography: China
Date: 1825 – 1850
Period: Daoguang (r. 1821-1850) or Xianfeng (r. 1850-1861), Qing Dynasty
31 x 32 cm
Object number: 950.100.328
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Sigmund Samuel
Not on view
DescriptionThe qilin was one of four mythic beasts revered in China. For the Manchu, it was next in importance to the dragon and indicated the highest rank of nobility not related to the imperial clan. According to a Confucian saying, “a qilin appears when the prince [ruler] is wise and judicious.” The Qing army was an important symbol of Manchu authority over the Chinese empire as well as a practical means of maintaining order. Traditionally, the highest-ranking officers were aristocrats of Manchu ancestry whose dragon, qilin and animal badges indicated noble rank. The nine ranks of military officers paralleled the nine grades of civil officials. These ranks were represented by animals.
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