Ladder to the Clouds: Intrigue and Tradition in Chinese Rank. Beverly Jackson, David Hugus.

Ladder to the Clouds: Intrigue and Tradition in Chinese Rank

Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1999.

304 pp. 216 color plates 56 black and white photos. 10 x 10 Hardback in dustjacket in Good condition. Ex-library with usual marks including withdrawn stamp. Item #BOOKS011007I
ISBN: 1580081274

A comprehensive study of Chinese civil and military rank badges. These small Chinese silk squares were sewn on surcoats. "With Hugus, a collector who supplies many of the examples here as well as much of the more scholarly text, Jackson, the writer of Splendid Slippers: A Thousand Years of an Erotic Tradition, tackles another intriguing Chinese social phenomenon: official rank and its insignia as represented in the imperial costume of Ming and Ch'ing dynasties (1368-1912). Each rank was identified by a finely woven or embroidered silk square that was worn on the front and back of a surcoat. The iconography--birds for civil ranks and real and mythological animals for military ranks--indicates not only official status but also the general Chinese worldview. Although the pictures and text are at times somewhat uncoordinated, the beautifully reproduced full-color illustrations of the badges together with archival photographs do provide a multifaceted view of the ancient system. This first comprehensive book on the topic--providing a historical and cultural background as well as information for decoding Chinese symbols on imperial dress--serves as a guide for art, military, and cultural historians as well as collectors."

Price: $70.00

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