There is one other image of this object. This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions), and as such we offer a high-resolution image of it. See our image rights statement.


See more objects with the tag clouds, identity, government, rank, egret, scholar.

See more objects with the color silver peru sienna darkkhaki sienna or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline



  • We acquired this object.




  • You found it!

Rank Badge (China)

This is a Rank badge. It is dated Ming dynasty, 1368–1644 and we acquired it in 1902. Its medium is silk, metallic yarns and its technique is plain weave with discontinuous wefts (tapestry or k'ossu), open slits. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This rare Ming dynasty rank badge would have been worn by a sixth rank civil official, woven into or appliquéd to a long, full-skirted red robe accompanied by a gem-inset hoop belt and black gauze winged hat. Square badges with birds or animals can be found in Yuan period (1271-1368) court clothing, but it was not until the Ming dress regulations of 1391 that animals and birds were systematically corresponded to civil and military ranks, and the term “rank badge” (buzi) appeared. The rank badge system proved both enduring and influential. It continued through the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and into the early Republic of China, and was adopted by neighboring vassal countries like Korea and Annam (central Vietnam). This elegant example shows a pair of white egrets circling each other in flight, set against the clouds rippling in broad bands of warm colors.

This object was donated by John Pierpont Morgan. It is credited Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.

Our curators have highlighted 4 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Gloves (Italy)
  • silk, metallic yarns, spangles.
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma....
  • 1962-55-19-a,b
  • Asafo Flag (Ghana)
  • cotton.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Mrs. William Goulding and from General....
  • 2009-2-1

Its dimensions are

H x W: 34.3 x 39.4 cm (13 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Rank Badge (China); Previously owned by Francisco Miquel y Badía (Spanish, 1840–1899); silk, metallic yarns; H x W: 34.3 x 39.4 cm (13 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.); Gift of John Pierpont Morgan; 1902-1-432

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Rank Badge (China) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 September 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>