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What is a rank badge?

Department Specialist


Benjamin A. Farina
Vice President | Department Head

267.414.1219

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Published: 28 June 2017

A History of the Chinese Rank Badge

Privacy is a novelty in today’s communicative landscape; Linkedin advertises professional appeal, Facebook aggregates milestones, Instagram filters moments and Twitter connects to a global community. Privacy was a similar novelty in 17th century China, with a few technological exclusions.

The highly collectable Chinese rank badge began in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), becoming more predominant throughout the Ching Dynasty (1644-1912). Embroidered on the front and back of one’s surcoat, the rank badge was created to make court member’s easily identifiable. Very much pieces of embroidered art, the rank badge is a physical juxtaposition to modern, societal classification.

Chinese rank badges can be broken down into three types; civil, military and imperial. Watch as Freeman’s
Asian Art Department Head, Benjamin Farina, explains the intricacies of rank depiction during the
Ming and Ching Dynasties.

Freeman’s is currently accepting consignments for the Fall Asian Art auction.
Get a complimentary auction estimate and more information here.

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