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Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Army (China)

Last modified: 2020-07-31 by ian macdonald
Keywords: taiping | heavenly kingdom army | china | qing dynasty |
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The Taiping Rebellion was a widespread civil war in China from 1850 to 1864, led by heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan, against the ruling Qing Dynasty. About 25 million people were killed, mainly civilians, in one of the deadliest military conflicts in history.
Hong established the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (Chinese: 太平天囯 pinyin: Tàipíng Tiānguó), officially the "Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace", with its capital at Nanjing. The Kingdom's army controlled large parts of southern China, at its height containing about 30 million people. The rebels attempted social reforms and the replacement of Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion by a form of Christianity. Troops were nicknamed the Long hair (長毛, pinyin: cháng máo). The Taiping areas were besieged by Qing forces throughout most of the rebellion. The Qing government defeated the rebellion with the eventual aid of French and British forces.
In the twentieth century, China's communist leader Mao Zedong glorified the
Taipings as early heroic revolutionaries against a corrupt feudal system..
Nozomi Kariyasu, 02 December 2009

Commander flag of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Army

[Lay Osborne Flotilla ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 02 December 2009

The yellow triangle flag charged with commender's name in red with white fringe.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 02 December 2009

King of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom

[Lay Osborne Flotilla ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 09 March 2014

A flag of the Taiping Rebellion 1851-1864. The wiki caption reads "Taiping Heaven and Earth Society Flag schematic, simplified from a flag in the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Museum in Nanjing, China"
Ben Cahoon, 06 June 2013

Basically a sketch. Going through the references, eventually gets you to overview and original. This shows the flag, if it is one, to be of a more traditional shape, with wavy edges. (I hope we document that  somewhere. If not, do we have anyone knowledgeable about Chinese flag shapes?) In the detailed photograph, we can also see that the red is filled with writing and shapes.
Taiping, and the black edges around a red field, suggest a connection with the Black Flag army flag we show at Black Flag Army page.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 15 June 2013

The detailed image here. There is also a cravat above the flag, white with black inscriptions.
Tomislav Todorović, 16 June 2013

In 1851 Taiping Rebellion broke and the leader and a King of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Hong Xiuquan used Order Flag of the Army which is red flag charged with 天朝 = King in black upper part and 令= Order in black in yellow tetragon in the center.
Source: Atlas of Flags in China 2003
Nozomi Kariyasu, 09 March 2014