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Korean art, insignia
Rank badge with crane

During the Joseon Dynasty (1392~1910), royal robes and officials’ uniforms show highly refined craftsmanship and textile techniques of weaving, dyeing, sewing, and embroidering. The insignia is a good example. The insignia refers to a decorative badge that was attached to the chest and back of robes and uniforms to identify the wearer’s status. Common design motifs were animals, plants, and characters. Royal court members wore clothing with dragon and phoenix patterns. Generally, winged animals such as cranes were used for scholarly officials’ rank badges, while four-legged animals like tigers were used for military officials. These patterns were elaborately painted, stamped and embroidered on the square badge.

The Collection of National Palace Museum of Korea


Korean art, insignia
Rank badge with crane

The twin crane design was skillfully rendered, conveying rich and vividly textured embroidery on the insignia in the portrait of O Jae-sun. O Jae-sun (1727-1792) was a scholar who served in high government positions during the King Jeongjo period. A crane is as one of ten longevity symbols which include the sun, clouds, mountains, water, pine trees, turtles, deer, peaches, and the herb of eternal youth. These ten longevity elements frequently appear in many types of traditional Korean art to express the wish of a long and healthy life.

The Collection of the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

Image source 

The Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea

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