Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Imperial Order of the Double Dragon

On this, the eve of the Chinese New Year, and 2012 being the year of the dragon, the young fogey thought he would share some information concerning an order little known today that existed during the reign of the Qing dynasty. The first known award of a double dragon was made in 1864. However its not until December 1881 under Emperor Kuangsi that the first documentation concerning regulations were released by the Qing Foreign Ministry, the order then solely the preserve of foreigners, and it was at this time that the order took on the more common aspects in design and structure used in european style orders. This series of awards become known as the first series with the ribbon having the embroidered dragon upon the sash.
 In 1897 the design of the order was changed from the more rounded example to that of a star shape and the ribbon became red, this style came to be referred to as the second type. It wasnt until 1908 that the order could be bestowed upon the Emperors own subjects ceasing to be an honour purely for foreigners.
The Order had rather a complicated structure which was broken down into Three Divisions and within each Division there were three classes. The First Division was primarily for sovereigns, other royals, ministers of state and the most senior of military officials, Second Division was for senior  military officers, consuls general, heads of departments etc and the Thrid Division being for military officers of the rank of colonel and below, attaches, professors and consulate staff.
 With the fall of the Qing dynasty the order it seems ceased to be awarded( I would be interested to hear if anyone can provide information to the contrary) with PuYi as the Kangde Emperor establishing a new series of Orders for the Manchukuo State

Gong Xi Fai Cai

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