Rank badges (or Mandarin squares) from the Ming and Qing periods were emblems worn on the front and back of the outer layer of the court garb, indicative of the civil or military rank. These ranks were represented by animal symbols, the crane being the highest civil level. The flying crane seen here is arranged as a roundel, holding a lotus flower (or ruyi) in its beak, and is elegantly framed by alternating lotus and peony flowers. This is an ancient and revered Chinese pattern, first manifested during the late Ming dynasty and continuing well into the Kangxi period.
Conserved on a cotton backing and mounted on a wooden stretcher