Last modified: 2020-07-31 by ian macdonald
Keywords: china | officials rank flags | dragon | sun: red |
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flag of a Beile
image by Miles Li and Mario Fabretto, 26 May 2007
During the final years of the Qing Dynasty, a set of officials' rank flags were adopted in China. These were the Imperial Dragon (National) Flag, with the officials' rank insignia (known as the Mandarin Square, originally worn on the officials' surcoats) arranged horizontally in the upper fly, above the back of the Imperial dragon. These flags would be flown, for example, above Chinese diplomatic missions overseas.
Princes used circular emblems:
Nobilities and officials used square emblems:
Note that the emblems were arranged symmetrically, with the beasts and the birds facing/curling towards each other, and in the case of Qinwang, with the front-facing dragons at the centre and the side-facing dragons at each side.
A mandarin square with qilin can be seen here: http://www.embroiderersguild.com/stitch/infocus/qilin.html [dead link].
On flags the emblems would be somewhat simplified, of course.
Source: Flaggenbuch (Reichs-Marine-Amt, Berlin 1905)
Miles Li, 26 May 2007