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Military rank badge. Square embroidered silk panel with both gold and silver couching. The central figure is a lion embroidered onto a separate piece of fabric and sewn onto the panel. The background is a sequence of semi-regular patterns with ocean motifs interspersed, such as sea creatures, a shell, plant life. A border edges the panel and has a repeating pattern. The panel is sewn to a plain blue silk backing piece. On the backing fabric, sewn to the lower right corner is a small paper with the inscription “Lion, Military official of the second rank.” Colours are blue, light blue, gold, black, green, orange, and a very pale light blue.

History Of Use

This would have been worn of the back of a robe, as it is a one-piece design

Iconographic Meaning

The lion represents strength, courage and fortitude and denotes the 2nd military rank. It is identified by its curled tail, manes, and black hair.

The badge was for a man as evidenced by the animal facing the sun in the top left corner.

There are many Buddhist auspicious symbols depicted on the badge: parasol (protection, spiritual power, nobility; wisdom and compassion, victory over ignorance); conch (far-reaching sound of Buddha’s voice, calls the faithful to prayer); fish (freedom from restraint, happiness, fertility, abundance); vase (elixir of life, enduring peace, treasure of spiritual wealth); endless knot (infinite wisdom & compassion, path that leads to righteousness, interconnectedness, endless cycle of death and rebirth); lotus (purity); standard of victory (victory over hindrances); and flaming pearl (?) (enlightenment) or dharma wheel (the teachings of Buddha, the noble truths, karma/ever-turning wheel of cycle of death and rebirth).

Item History

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