Rank badge – double phoenix

“Ming-period insignia (rank) badge woven in the kesi (slit, or discontinuous-weft, tapestry) tecnhique that depicts a band of swirling water at the bottom, behind which a blue rock sits flanked by two peony flowers. A phoenix perches on the rock. A second phoenix flies amongst elongated clouds in the sky, swooping down towards its mate. The tail feathers of the phoenixes are slightly differentiated, which likely indicates a male/female pair. Tails with barbed feathers indicate a male and a scrolling tail indicates a female. The two tails here are not clearly enough differentiaed to be certain about the bird’s gender, but it appears likely it is the female is descending.The badge has faded unevenly with more fading on the viewer’s right side.”

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, late 15th-early 16th century, ca, 1500
Medium
Silk
Dimensions
H x W: 33.6 × 38.7 cm (13 1/4 × 15 1/4 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Shirley Z. Johnson
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F2017.7
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Costume and Textile
Type

Textile

Keywords
China, cloud, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), peony, phoenix, rock, slit tapestry, water
Provenance

In 1986
Spink & Son, London, purchased from a Tibetan family [1]

From 1986 to 2017
Shirley Z. Johnson, purchased in April 1986 from Spink & Son, Ltd. [2]

From 2017
Freer Galley of Art, given by Shirley Z. Johnson in 2017

Notes

[1] Jacqueline Simcox of Spink & Son informed Shirley Z. Johnson at the time of the acquisition that the object belong to a Tibetan family residing in London, and was presumably brought with them when they fled the country in the 1950s. See Jacqueline Simcox to Shirley Z. Johnson, June 27, 1986.

[2] See note 1.

Description

"Ming-period insignia (rank) badge woven in the kesi (slit, or discontinuous-weft, tapestry) tecnhique that depicts a band of swirling water at the bottom, behind which a blue rock sits flanked by two peony flowers. A phoenix perches on the rock. A second phoenix flies amongst elongated clouds in the sky, swooping down towards its mate. The tail feathers of the phoenixes are slightly differentiated, which likely indicates a male/female pair. Tails with barbed feathers indicate a male and a scrolling tail indicates a female. The two tails here are not clearly enough differentiaed to be certain about the bird's gender, but it appears likely it is the female is descending.The badge has faded unevenly with more fading on the viewer's right side."

Published References
  • Ms. Shirley Z. Johnson. A Textile Collector's Approach to Collecting. July-August Hong Kong, 1995. 126, 128, 3.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
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