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Rank Badge with Phoenixes

Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
16th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Silk and metallic thread tapestry (kesi)
Dimensions:
Overall: 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. (34.9 x 34.9 cm) Mount: 17 1/2 x 18 in. (44.5 x 45.7 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1936
Accession Number:
36.65.31
Not on view
The phoenixes appear in a symbolic landscape of clouds, waves, and a decorative rock surrounded by colorful flora: (clockwise from lower left) auspicious fungus, camellia, prunus, and (dominating the right) tree peonies. Unpatterned edges at the top and bottom of the textile (now hidden under the mat) suggest it was woven for a special purpose, probably as a decorative rank insignia for a female member of the imperial household.
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