PRICE: 9.000.000 - 10.000.000 VND

EST. TIME: 25 - 30 HOURS

Born in Vietnam’s last Imperial Citadel – Hue, this sub-collection from the ongoing project “Annam Heritage” borrows the artisanal essence of the splendid *rank badges of the Nguyễn dynasty.

Rank badges, or mandarin squares, were large embroidered badges sewn onto the back and front of surcoat of either an official or an imperial member in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese courts. They were embellished with detailed, splendid animal or bird insignia indicating the rank of the person wearing it. In Vietnam, the mandarin squares were used for the first time in the Lê dynasty in Lê Thánh Tông's reign (1471).

Thanks for BARO’s private collection which houses a wide range of antiques from both Qing and Nguyen dynasty, some of the uniqueness of our last imperial glory’s badges were meticulously developed, and depicted on this collection: “Resplendent Honors” - Phong Công Hiển Tú 【豐功顯秀】.

Nguyễn-dynasty Civil mandarin

"Bird Insignias" and rank badge in BARO's collection

Returned to Vietnam in 2020

The first design got its vibrant crimson background from the actual shade of the extremely rare surviving examples of Nguyen rank badges. Birds in flight all over the shoes are what represent rank of Civil Mandarins in the court such as crane, rooster, peacock, egret, goose, etc, adorned with iridescent sparkling gold paint.

Nguyễn-dynasty Military mandarin

"Quadruped Insignias"

For the second design with its unusual dark indigo background, many historical sources were taken into consideration including records, paintings, photographs, especially ones taken during the visit to Paris of Grand Secretariat Phan Thanh Gian and his accompanying mandarins in 1863, as Military badges are even more scarce than Imperial court attires. Its palette was also sampled from Northern Vietnamese embroidery in early 20th century with an extraordinarily intriguing highlight pink.

Suns being positioned in the top center are also what distinguish Vietnamese rank badges from Chinese ones. In the Ming and Qing courts, left-right position was implemented to tell the wearers’ gender while for the Nguyen, women were not allowed to have rank badges .