Image: Mandarin Square E69858 A

Mandarin Square E69858 A

This late 19th century mandarin square is a good example of such emblems used during the Ch’ing (Qing) Dynasty (1880 – 1911).

Stan Florek
© Australian Museum


This is a typical double square (each measuring 30x30cm) that was worn on the front and back of Ch’ing public officials’ jackets. The blue clouds are outlined by metallic thread that stands out against the background. The gold and black slanted lines at the bottom of the square indicate the deep sea. The bird – possibly a wild goose – is standing at the centre, facing left to the red sun. The bird is mustard in colour; its back, wings and lower chin have patches of dark brown. The sun, at the upper left corner of the square, is embroidered with coral beads and represents the Emperor. Eight Buddhist symbols including the endless knot, wheel, canopy, umbrella, lotus, vase and conch are around bird in the ‘sky.’ Alternating bats and the round Shou characters - symbols of longevity - appear in the border weaving. The Shou characters are woven in gold.

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