Auspicious Symbols of Rank and Status
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Auspicious Symbols of Rank and Status

Filetype[PDF-2.28 MB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Emerg Infect Dis
    • Description:
      Artist Unknown, Rank Badge with Leopard, Wave and Sun Motifs, late 18th century (detail). Silk, metallic thread. 10 3/4 in x 11 1/4 in / 27.31 cm x 28.57 cm. Public domain digital image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA; bequest of William Christian Paul, 1929. Accession no.30.75.1025.

      This month’s cover image is an 18th century Qing military rank badge that depicts a muscular leopard standing on a small piece of light brown, green-tinged land amidst flowering plants and fruit trees. The sur- rounding sky is filled with swooping bats and tendrils of clouds. Stylized ocean waves rise and swell, and breakers reach out like fingers on a hand. What may be lingzhi mushrooms, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine and are also symbols of immortal- ity, sprout from the junction of ocean with land. The small red sun disk in the upper left represents the em- peror and provides a focal point for the leopard. The leopard itself symbolizes power, important for mili- tary officers. Combined, the various elements related to the sky, sea, and land denote the universe, and the bats indicate good fortune. The bold colors and tex- tures of the finely woven threads stand out in contrast to the black background, and an intricately designed gold border wraps the edges of the badge.

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