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Patent of Nobility

Date: 1644-1661
Medium: silk and dye
Overall: 12 x 164 3/4 in. (30.5 x 418.5 cm)
Classification: Information Forms
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. C. Ruxton Love
Object number: 67.015.002
DescriptionThis embroidered patent of nobility (gao ming) is a series of documents written in both Manchu, the language of the Qing imperial family, and Chinese. The documents chronicle the rise of a family of humble origins to nobility within the Qing empire. The history begins with Pien-zhu who was given a title for his participation in a southward campaign into Shandong province and the subjugation of the prefecture of Bien-jin. He is subsequently recognized for his services in surpressing bandits in Dong-chang Fu, where he lost his life. As a reward for this valorous service, an hereditary title and promotion was bestowed on his elder brother, Hun-zhu in the 4th year, 12th month, 17th day of the reign of the Shunzhi emperor (1648). With the unification of the empire under the Manchu, Qing dynasty, Pien-zhu's family was given an additional title on the occasion of ascendancy of the Empress Dowager (1651). Subsequent entries detail the history of the imperial favors granted to the descendants of Pien-zhu.
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