A collection of four rare Chinese rank badges,
Republic period, after 1911, of 'Yuan Shikai roundels', each embroidered with the symbols of sovereignty, including the fu surrounded by libation cups, fire, a constellation, a dragon, a mountain, a pheasant, an axe or a water weed, amongst clouds against a black satin ground,
20 to 21cm diameter, framed and glazed (4)
After he became the first President of the Chinese Republic in 1912, Yuan Shikai had a desire to emulate the old Imperial ranking system. These roundels were made to be worn by officials during the traditional seasonal sacrifices he reinstated. The lower the status of the official, the fewer roundels on his robe, and the fewer traditional symbols of Imperial authority included in the roundel, with twelve being the highest number for roundels and symbols. For further examples of roundels of this type, displaying a varying numbers of symbols, see B Jackson and D Hughes, 'Ladder to the Clouds', Berkeley, 1999, pp. 286-9.
Provenance: Two purchased from Christie's, New York, 19 Mar 2008, Lot 81.
民国 补子 一组四件
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Sold for £3,400
Did not examine outside of the frames.
All with cocklings, loose or pulled threads, colours faded.
Some details missing, stains.
Frames with chips and scratches.
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Auction: Asian Art - Live Online, Fri, 14th May 2021
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