Naval ensign, Imperial China (1888-1911) by unknown

Naval ensign, Imperial China (1888-1911)


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Naval ensign, Imperial China (1888-1911) by unknown zoom

Naval ensign, Imperial China (1888-1911)

Naval ensign, Imperial China 1888-1912 pattern. This is the standard national flag adopted by the Qing government from 1888 until its downfall in 1911. A rectangular flag made of wool bunting, machine sewn with hand sewn details. A rope is attached for hoisting. The flag shows a five-clawed, blue dragon with a red sun disc on a yellow background. The design is appliquÔòá┬«d with the teeth, horns and claws of the dragon made of white cotton. The pupils of the eyes are made of black felt. The flag was used as a state flag and naval ensign until the fall of the Qing dynasty. The proposal to adopt this design was made in 1888.

In 1888 the Qing government issued 'The Regulations for the Beiyang Fleet' in which it laid down the standard design of the Qing imperial national flag. 'The Regulations for the Beiyang Fleet' gives an account of why a national flag was adopted.

National Flags

In Western countries, different flags are used on different occasions and can be categorized as national flags, warship flags, and merchant-ship flags. National flags can further be classified as those used on warships and those used on merchant ships. Roughly speaking, rectangular flags are more valued and triangular ones are considered secondary. In 1866, the Office for General Management announced the adoption of a yellow triangular flag with a flying dragon design by ships hired for anti-piracy duties. This triangular flag was never declared as a national flag in permanent terms. As the numbers of merchant-ships and warships increased in China; contacts between China and other countries became more and more frequent. It became important for China to standardize the design of her flags so respect could be shown to the imperial authority. The national flag hoisted on warships was changed to be rectangular in shape, the colour of the flag remaining yellow, and the design remained the blue flying dragon. The same national flag was used by the army.

[May Bo Ching].

The flag was presented to St Bartholomew's Hospital by Admiral Sir Hugh Watson (1872-1954) in 1931. Hugh Watson commanded the river gunboat 'Woodcock' in 1898 in China and he was in that country at the time of the Boxer War in 1900. He had returned to the United Kingdom in 1902 but returned to China as commander of the cruiser 'Leviathan' between mid 1903 and late 1904.

Original size: 1143 mm x 1778 mm

  • Image reference: L0151

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