Mandarin square silver pheasant

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A mandarin square is an embroidered badge sewn onto the surcoat of an imperial official of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The animal depicted indicates the rank of the official. Squares were not issued by the government; each wearer commissioned their own, so a variety of designs flourished. Some officials even attempted to disguise their animal as a higher ranked one.

This Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) silver pheasant square indicates that the wearer was a civil official of the fifth rank. Designs became more elaborate over time. As this is one of the most ornate squares found, it can be presumed to be from the late Qing era, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-1796).

The highly detailed composition includes colorful clouds, bats, and even a rhinoceros horn in the water on the left, all auspicious symbols. The pine trees on either side have blue needles, as the Chinese considered blue and green to be the same color.

Navy color background.
More Information
Weight Light
Weight (mg/sq in) 68
Made in France