Category Archives: Chinese Orders

Book Available for Purchase – Chinese Orders (1862-1955)

This book features:

1) More than 90% of all Chinese Orders types ever awarded;

2) About 175 sets of high quality Chinese Orders pictures;

3) Recent reference prices of each item in the international trading market and private sales;

4) Five sets of very rare Qing Dynasty Orders documentations in the appendix;

5) Hard cover upholstered in silk;

6) 210 pages.

The price of the book is US$350 + US$35 international shipping.

We accept PayPal, money order, and Western Union.

To purchase, please contact us by email at admin@chinesemedal.com

Chinese Orders (1862-1955) [ISBN 978-0-9781539-2-2]

(click on images to enlarge)

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The front and back cover illustrations of《Chinese Orders 1862-1955》

My book 《Chinese Orders 1862-1955》 has been published for a few months now, and I would like to express my appreciation for the support and encouragement from many medal collectors and enthusiasts. Some collectors asked me why I chose those two orders to put on the book’s front and back cover. First of all, dragon and phoenix symbolize good fortune and prosperity in Chinese tradition. But more importantly, those two orders had their historical significance in Chinese medal history.

1. On the front cover is the Double Dragon Order, first type, second class, third grade. The Chinese Government at the time commissioned the renowned House of Fabergé in Saint Petersburg, Russia to manufacture this order. The design and the craftsmanship of this order were unsurpassedly exquisite. The design adhered strictly to the Qing government’s medal regulations which required a lotus-shaped centre, but also incorporated the star-shaped bottom which are commonly seen in Western orders. The Chinese name of the order literally stands for “Double Dragon Treasure Star”. The star-shaped bottom made the name “Treasure Star” much more figurative. As a result, the order was warmly received by its Western recipients. Of particular note is this design led to the emergence of the second type Double Dragon Order.

2. On the bottom cover is the Medal of Phoenix, third class. It was the first medal ever awarded to female in Chinese history. At the time orders were only awarded to male recipients who had power or who were of importance to the government. Although the Medal of Pheonix was a medal, but not an order, its design was strictly based on that of an order. Therefore, one can actually say that the Medal of Pheonix was an order de facto. It was the highest honor that could be awarded to a female member.

Indeed, there is a special meaning behind each Chinese order. These orders not only represented honors awarded by the government, they also carry a piece of history in each of them. I will be further discussing these in my next book《The History of Chinese Orders》.

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The Orders of Striped Tiger – Nine Classes (2009-09-21)

Figure 1: First Class (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 2: Second Class (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 3: Third Class (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 4: Forth Class (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 5: Fifth Class (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 6: Sixth Class (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 7: Seventh Class (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 8: Eighth Class (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 9: Ninth Class (Click on image to enlarge.)

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Qing Dynasty Orders – 25 Pictures (2009-08-17)

Figure 1: The Order of Double Dragon Type 2, first class third grade (click images to enlarge.)

Figures 2 & 3: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, first class third grade (click images to enlarge.)

Figures 4  & 5: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, second class first grade (click images to enlarge.)

Figures 6 & 7: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, second class  second grade (click images to enlarge.)

Figures 8 & 9: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, second class third grade (click images to enlarge.)

Figure 10 & 11 The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, second class second grade, transitional design (click images to enlarge.)

Figures 12 & 13: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, third class first grade (click images to enlarge.)

Figures 14 to 16: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, third class second grade (click images to enlarge.)

https://i1.wp.com/farm3.static.flickr.com/2611/3830313983_f2701d9ef5_o.jpg

Figures 17 to 20: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, third class third grade (click images to enlarge.)

Figures 21 to 25: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, fourth class (click images to enlarge.)

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2538/3831109710_faeb331cd2_o.jpgThe Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, first class third gradeFigure 1 & 2: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, first class third grade.

Figure 1 & 2: The Order of the Double Dragon Type 2, first class third grade.http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2596/3829676171_313d671cab_o.jpg

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Classification of the Qing Dynasty Double Dragon Orders (2009-08-13)

The issuance of the Qing Dynasty Double Dragon Orders likely began on March 11th, 1861, following the establishment of the foreign ministry, and required the approval from the Emperor. The evolvement of the Double Dragon Orders is divided in three periods: the early version of the Double Dragon Order awarded between 1862 and 1881; the first type of the Double Dragon Orders awarded between 1881 and 1896; and the second type of the Double Dragon Orders awarded between 1896 and 1911.

The early version of the Double Dragon Orders awarded between 1862 and 1881 are now extremely rare and are with very limited documentations. Based on the engravings, the early version orders are within the first three classes (Figure 1). Those with the same format but without engravings are speculated to belong to the fourth and fifth classes (Figure 2). The classification of the early version Double Dragon Orders is different from those issued in the later periods (the later ones have their classes engraved in Manchurian). However, the early version orders are embedded with gemstones of three different colors – red, blue, and white – which likely represent the first, second, and third class respectively. The use of gemstone color for the purpose of classification has been seen in the insignia of the late Qing Dynasty’s modernized military.

Figure 1: The early type Double Dragon Order, second class, second grade, gold medal (Click image to enlarge.)

Figure 2: The early type Double Dragon Order, third grade, silver medal (Click on image to enlarge.)

There were specific requirements and blueprints for the appearance and classification of the first type Double Dragon Orders awarded between 1881 and 1896. The differences in shape between the first, second and third class orders are displayed in Figure 3. However, the grade differentiation is based on each specific class. Figure 4 illustrates various grades among the first class orders as issued by foreign ministry. From the blueprint and from actual orders, the differences between various grades of the first class medal can be easily differentiated: 1) the first difference is in the position and the number of flame; 2) the second difference is in the indication of grades written in Manchurian (the same Manchurian writings also apply to second and third classes). Figure 5 illustrates the blueprint for various grades of the second class orders. From the blueprint, one could easily differentiate the grades by looking at: 1) the difference in the design of the cloud-shaped edges; 2) the difference in the last right Manchurian word indicating the grade of the order. Figure 6 illustrates the blueprint for various grades of third class orders. The same method of classification of the second class orders can be applied to classify the third class orders. The fourth and fifth classes Double Dragon Orders are not further classified into specific grades (Figure 7).

Figure 3 (left): Double Dragon Order of the first type, first class, third grade, in gold (Large size) (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 3 (middle): Dragon Order of the first type, second class, third grade, in silver (Large size) (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 3 (right): Double Dragon Order of the first type, third class, first grade, in gold (Large size) (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 4 (Click on images to enlarge).

Figure 5 (Click on images to enlarge).

Figure 6 (Click on images to enlarge).

Figure 7 (Click on images to enlarge).

There were also specific requirements and blueprints for the appearance and classification of the second type Double Dragon Orders awarded between 1896 and 1911. The unique design of the first class first grade order can be easily recognized by the presence of coiled dragon on the order and sash badge. The unique design of the first class second grade order is the line of embedded pearls surrounding the coral in the centre (Figure 8). The unique design of the first class third grade order is the small pearls embedded in each cloud (Figure 9). The sash badges of the second and third grades are the same in the sense that they both have a six-petal flower design (Figure 10). Figure 11 illustrates the various grades of the second type second class orders. Figure 12 illustrates the sash badges of the second type second class orders. The main point in distinguishing the various grades of the second class orders is to observe the decorative design patterns surrounding the coral in the centre of the orders. Usually the first grade has a five-petal flower design pattern surrounding the coral in the centre. The second grade has a T-shaped pattern, whereas the third grade has a m-shaped pattern. The sash badges of the first grade and second grade are similar in the sense that they both have the same blue flower pattern on the outside, whereas the third grade has a unique blue wedge pattern on the outside. Figure 13 illustrates the second type third class orders, which do not come with sash badges. Other than the blue gemstone in the centre, various grades of the third class orders can be distinguished in the same way as the second class orders. Figure 14 illustrates the second type fourth and fifth classes. These can be easily distinguished based on their unique shapes.

Of course, there are many other special double dragon order designs that were custom made for specific occasions. These special designs are not discussed in this article for the time being.

Figure 8: The second type Double Dragon Order, first class, second grade (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 9: The second type Double Dragon Order, first class, third grade (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 10: The second type Double Dragon Order, first class, third grade sash badge (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 11 (left): The second type Double Dragon Order, second class, first grade (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 11 (middle): The second type Double Dragon Order, second class, second grade (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 11 (right): The second type Double Dragon Order, second class, second grade (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 12 (left): The second type Double Dragon Order, second class, first grade sash badge (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 12 (middle): The second type Double Dragon Order, second class, second grade sash badge (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 12 (right): The second type Double Dragon Order, second class, second grade sash badge (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 13 (left): The second type Double Dragon Order, third class, first grade (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 13 (middle): The second type Double Dragon Order, third class, second grade (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 13 (right): The second type Double Dragon Order, third class, second grade (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 14: The second type Double Dragon Order, fourth class (Click on image to enlarge.)

Figure 15: The second type Double Dragon Order, fifth class (Click on image to enlarge.)

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Double Dragon Order of the Late Qing Dynasty (2009-08-12)

The Double Dragon Order is the first official government medal implemented in China. The first ever documented order was the Order of the Double Dragon second class first grade, early type in gold (Figures 1, 2). It was awarded to a Briton named James Bevan Edwards (Figure 3) in 1864 during the Tongzhi period.

Figures 1 to 3: The Double Dragon Order (in gold) awarded to James Bevan Edwards (Click on images to enlarge.)

In 1864, James Bevan Edwards joined the regiment under Colonel Gordon’s command and participated in the battle against the Taiping Rebels in Changzhou. He was awarded the Order of the Double Dragon second class first grade for his exceptional service. These earliest version of the Double Dragon Order is categorized into three classes, each class embedded with a different colour gemstones (red, blue, white), which are speculated for distinguishing the three classes. There are other orders with a similar format but the classes are not engraved and specified. These other orders are believed to be of lower grade. Further investigation into the Qing dynasty archives is needed to verify the categorization of these early versions of the second class order.

The first documented version of the Double Dragon Order regulations was released by the Qing government’s foreign ministry on December 19th, 1881. These regulations specified the detailed requirements for the Double Dragon Order, such as name, classification, appearance, licence, production, and agenda of the awarding ceremony. These orders are commonly known as the first type Double Dragon Orders (Figures 4 to 6).

Figures 4 to 6: First type Double Dragon Orders (Click on images to enlarge.)

During that era, the Double Dragon Orders were only awarded to foreigners. And when Qing government officials visited western country, they would have many different versions of the Double Dragon Order custom made. The countries that are known to have produced the Double Dragon Order include Russia, Germany, Austria, Belgium and France (Figures 7 to 10).

Figures 7 to 10: Double Dragon Orders custom made in western countries (Click on images to enlarge.)

On February 11th, 1897, the Qing government’s foreign ministry granted to change the Double Dragon Order into a star shape, and to no longer embroider a dragon shape on the sash. The ministry then released the revised regulations regarding these changes. The Double Dragon Orders made since then are commonly known as the second type Double Dragon Orders (Figures 11, 12). At this time, Qing government officials would still have most of the orders custom made in western countries (Figures 13 to 16).

Figures 11 & 12: Second type Double Dragon Orders (Click on images to enlarge.)

Figures 13 to 16:Second type Double Dragon Orders custom made in western countries (Click on images to enlarge.)

Until August 1908, the early versions of the Double Dragon Orders were only awarded to foreigners. At the request of the foreign ministry, the Qing government began awarding the orders to government officials who were on official visits to foreign countries.

It can be said that the Double Dragon Orders are China’s milestone in opening itself to foreign countries, in building the country’s dignity, and in reaching out to the rest of the world. Therefore, to this date, they are still deeply valued by Chinese and foreign medal collectors.

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Chinese Orders – 12 Pictures (2009-07-08)

Qing Dynasty Orders (Click on images to enlarge):

Peiyang Government Orders (Click on images to enlarge):

Nanking Government Orders (Click on images to enlarge):

Manchukuo Orders (Click on image to enlarge):

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