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order of the precious star of the double dragon 2grand1calss


claretbaron
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It has always been a surprise to me, especially in view of the beautiful enamel work on other Chinese orders, how plain the arms of this cross are. Does anyone know the background?

Hugh

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Hello Hugh:

A possible answer to your query might be that as the awards lower in rank they become less ornate in design. I will attempt to attach two other examples.

Richard

Sorry for the triple insertation, but this shows the original vermeil finish on the petals. So as you can see it is a very nice award.

www.thegoldenkite.com

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This example shows the complete 2nd Class set. The example that ClaretBaron depicted is quite old. It would be of great interest as to where he obtained his example. I would expect it came from a museum or private collection as it is very old.

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I'd be interested in your comments on this pair. I notice a few things about it:

1) The coral doesn't have the carving seen on the previous example.

2) The ribbon is plain as opposed to other examples.

3) The arms of the cross are outlined in black.

What's the significance of these disparities? Would you venture an opinion on the age and possible provenance of the pair?

(Sorry, don't have other photos)

Thanks,

Hugh

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Hello Hugh, I'm still on a VERY steep learning curve with these. But an excellent source of information is Chinese Medal Blog:

My link

I can't comment on the authenticity of this particular example. But on (1), I've seen examples sold by reputable auction houses with a carved coral stone and others with a smooth, polished corol stone.

On (2), some sources suggest that patterned dragon ribbons were awarded with the Type 1 Double Dragons, with Type 2 Double Dragons awarded with plain ribbons. However, I've also seen Type 2 Double Dragons with a patterned dragon ribbons.

Gavin

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The photo is not good because the low lighting affects the colors. I would also need to see the back and know the current location of the seller.

Richard

Thanks, Richard and Gavin,

I'm the current owner of the pieces, but they are in a frame, which means I don't have a picture of the back. To the best of my recollection, there is no number on the back. I bought it in '05 from a dealer in the Beatles home town. The "cross" does not appear to be vermeil, but is a silver color. It was described as follows: "Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, 2nd Type (1900-1911), 2nd Class, 3rd Grade, Neck badge and star in silver/gold and enamel, EF."

Best,

Hugh

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Thanks, Richard and Gavin,

I'm the current owner of the pieces, but they are in a frame, which means I don't have a picture of the back. To the best of my recollection, there is no number on the back. I bought it in '05 from a dealer in the Beatles home town. The "cross" does not appear to be vermeil, but is a silver color. It was described as follows: "Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, 2nd Type (1900-1911), 2nd Class, 3rd Grade, Neck badge and star in silver/gold and enamel, EF."

Best,

Hugh

Hugh the pieces look good. You should have no reason for concern.

Richard

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Hugh the pieces look good. You should have no reason for concern.

Richard

Thanks, Richard,

I wasn't really concerned; just interested in learning more. For example, where were the Chinese ODM made: a single government mint, multiple private firms, etc. (I'll be scouring Gavin's website to see what's there.)

Best,

Hugh

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Hi Hugh, glad to be able to finally repay the favour for your help on the Kingdom of Afghanistan Orders.

The following is a short extract from the excellent 634 page 2008 UBS Tammann Collection Auction Catalogue, prepared by Michael Autengruber and Gustav Tammann.

It is one of the most useful reference guides on Chinese Orders around, as well as ODM generally. Michael Autengruber is truly one of the world's leading ODM experts and his website is My link.

Unfortunately, UBS appears to have exited numismatics / ODM and closed their dedicated department, which is a loss for the hobby worldwide.

The abstract references a number of earlier studies although tracking these down would be a challenge. OMSA is however considering scanning and making available electronic copies of past journal articles to members.

--- abstract from 2008 UBS Tammann Collection Auction Catalogue, page151 ---

"The statutes of the Order of the Double Dragon, including full-size illustrations, were printed in Chinese and also in French by Th. Dupuy in Paris in form of a proposal of the Tsongli-Yamen (Premier's office) to the Empress Regent on February 7, 1882; they were imperially approved on the same day. Up to 1908 the order was exclusively for foreigners. The order had 5 classes, the upper three classes being subdivided in 3 grades each. The class and grade designation is written in Man characters on the type I insignia (cf. James Peterson, in The Medal Collector 1963, No.4, p.6ff).

The early insignia were made in China, but they were often criticized in the Western World as being below the dignity of Chinese, as being worn only as neck badges (although on beautifully embroidered ribbons) without stars even in the highest classes, as having the size of cow bells, and as being not shiny enough.

This led to a number of changes. Sashes were introduced already in 1883 for the 1st and 2nd class which, according to a ecree of 1894, had now to be in gold and to be accompanied by breast stars. These breast stars of the central government were probably all made in St. Petersburg (by Mikhail Bogdanov). - The variety of these Type I insignia was greatly enhanced by the fact that the recipinets of the three lower classes (and of the 2nd class?) could be proposed to the court by Viceroys, Governrs, Generals and other high officials who, however, had to pay for the insignia. This was used particularly by Li Hung-Chang to introduce neck badges of reduced size and of non-standard design.

When breast stars were introduced in 1894 the silver stars were frequently ordered in Europe (from, e.g., Halley, Kretly, Lemaitre, Wolfers and Godet) and surmounted by a much reduced, Chinese-made type I badge. - In spite of the decentralized proposals, a central roster of all bestowals were kept in Peking with a running number through all classes. These numbers repeated on the bestowal documents, allow the conclusion that less than 1000 Type-I insignia of all classes were distributed from 1882 to the outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion.

The confusing variety of insignia led to a new unified, Chinese-made Type II model which was finally introuced in 1902. No official description of the insignia of Type II is known (see King Kwok, The Order of the PreciousStar of the Double Dragon (2nd Type), in: Journal of the Orders and Medals Society of America, 53 (2002), Nr. 6, p. 3-10). Until the end of the Type II insignia late in 1911 their form has remained quite stable with only some variations in size and in ome other details. But there were also European-made insignia. The class designation in Man characters is in the 7 and 8 o'clock position in the ring about the centre (cf. James Peterson, in: The Medal Collector 1963, No. 4, p.6ff). The running numbers (since 1882) of the bestowal documents show that about 4000 Type-II insignia of all classes were distributed in 1901-1911."

Coutesy of UBS, Michael Autengruber and Gustav Tammann

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