Set of Three Kesi Official's Badges

c. 1850
$2,880 USD SOLD
W: 47.5" D: 2.0" H: 17.0"
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These exquisite, hand-woven tapestries are actually Qing-dynasty civil official badges. Such badges were affixed to the front and back of a dark silk overcoat to convey the official's prestige and rank. Facing the sun and resting amidst crashing waves, a central figure of a regal bird designates the official's rank. The outermost badges in this set of three depict Silver Pheasants, emblems of fifth rank, and the middle badge depicts a Wild Goose, the emblem of fourth rank. Scrolls, censors, coins, and other auspicious charms float throughout billowing clouds and waves surrounding the bird. Though many Qing-dynasty badges were embroidered, this set is an example of a pain-staking weaving technique known as kesi, or k'o-ssu, valued for creating an overall effect of carved silk. Set against fine silk brocades and centered in a simple frame, this set is a stunning example of Chinese textile art.

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