Lot 4032. A very rare civil official's rank badge of a crane, buzi, Kangxi period (1662-1722); 14 x 13 1/2 in. (36 x 34 cm)Estimate 250,000 - HKD 400,000. Price realised HKD 475,000© Christie's Images Ltd 2012.  

Made for a first rank civil official. The bird, worked in white satin stitch alighting on a rock emerging from waves in which jewels are tossed. The crane surrounded by ruyi-shaped clouds and the sun finely worked in satin stitch in shades of blue, green, brown and coral with fine couched gold outline. The rock formation and the border with traces of peacock feather filament, all reserved on a dense ground of couched gold threads, within a scroll border, mounted.

Provenance: Valery M. Garrett.

NoteA very similar badge, but depicting a silver pheasant, was sold at Christie's New York, The Imperial Wardrobe, Fine Chinese Costume and Textiles from the Linda Wrigglesworth Collection, 19 March 2008, lot 28.

The crane was thought to live for over 200 years and stored its accumulated wisdom in its red 'cap'. This is probably why the emblem of this bird was used for the emperor's closest advisors.

Christie's. The Imperial Sale,  Hong Kong, 30 May 2012