Ladder to the Clouds: Intrigue and Tradition in Chinese Rank

Overview

NOW IN PAPERBACK!For 13 centuries, throughout China male recruits studied diligently for a long series of grueling examinations in hopes of achieving the civil rank that would enable them to serve the emperor of China. For the fortunate few who passed these exams there were nine possible ranks, each identified by a square badge of finely woven kesi, embroidery, or brocade. Now available in paperback, LADDER TO THE CLOUDS offers a thorough analysis of symbols, styles, and techniques used in mandarin square ranks, ...

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Overview

NOW IN PAPERBACK!For 13 centuries, throughout China male recruits studied diligently for a long series of grueling examinations in hopes of achieving the civil rank that would enable them to serve the emperor of China. For the fortunate few who passed these exams there were nine possible ranks, each identified by a square badge of finely woven kesi, embroidery, or brocade. Now available in paperback, LADDER TO THE CLOUDS offers a thorough analysis of symbols, styles, and techniques used in mandarin square ranks, along with the most complete information for their identification to date.An exploration of Chinese symbols and customs, many of which are still practiced today.Includes vintage photographs and detailed descriptions, photos, and illustrations.Finalist for the 2000 Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Award.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
With Hugus, a collector who supplies many of the examples here as well as much of the more scholarly text, Jackson, the writer of Splendid Slippers: A Thousand Years of an Erotic Tradition, tackles another intriguing Chinese social phenomenon: official rank and its insignia as represented in the imperial costume of Ming and Ch'ing dynasties (1368-1912). Each rank was identified by a finely woven or embroidered silk square that was worn on the front and back of a surcoat. The iconography--birds for civil ranks and real and mythological animals for military ranks--indicates not only official status but also the general Chinese worldview. Although the pictures and text are at times somewhat uncoordinated, the beautifully reproduced full-color illustrations of the badges together with archival photographs do provide a multifaceted view of the ancient system. This first comprehensive book on the topic--providing a historical and cultural background as well as information for decoding Chinese symbols on imperial dress--serves as a guide for art, military, and cultural historians as well as collectors. Recommended for larger collections of Asian art and culture in both academic and public libraries.--Lucia S. Chen, NYPL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580081276
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,167,062
  • Product dimensions: 10.31 (w) x 10.26 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. David Hugus, an Asian textile scholar and collector, lives in Belmont, California.
BEVERLEY JACKSON is an esteemed art and cultural historian who specializes in Chinese art and costume. She tours and lectures on Asian art from her home in Santa Barbara, California.

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