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order of the brilliant jade


simpi01
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Hello,

I am new to this forum and I was wondering if there are any of the distinguished members interested in a few Chinese orders I have and I do not like to put them on sale on Ebay, as I prefer to deal directly to customers. One of them is a Brilliant Jade breast star, pictured below, Of course if anybody interested, I also have a couple of golden grain, cloud and banner, the medal of the royal household office and more.

Thank you for your attention.

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Hello,

I am new to this forum and I was wondering if there are any of the distinguished members interested in a few Chinese orders I have and I do not like to put them on sale on Ebay, as I prefer to deal directly to customers. One of them is a Brilliant Jade breast star, pictured below, Of course if anybody interested, I also have a couple of golden grain, cloud and banner, the medal of the royal household office and more.

Thank you for your attention.

Hello I would be interested to enter in contact with you. I don't have the breast star of the Brilliant Jade in my colection.

My email : svieta@skynet.be

Best regards.

Emmanuel

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  • 2 years later...

Dear all,

I am just pulling out an old thread to shed light on the Order of the Brilliant Jade ("OBJ").

1- Looking back at trhe most important public auctions of Chinese medals of the past years, I have noted that :

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Deal all,

I am just pulling an old thread to shed light on the Order of the Brilliant Jade ("OBJ").

1 - Looking back at the most important public auctions of Chinese medals of the past years, I have noted that :

- The American Numismatic Association sale of April 2007 organised by Morton & Eden did not have a single OBJ piece within the vast quantity of Chinese medals offered.

- The Tammann sale of November 2008 put together by UBS had only one set described as "1st Class 2nd grade".

- The Polyauction of April 2014 also had only one set described as "Grand Order of Brilliant Jade" with no specific mention of Class or Grade. It looks similar to the Tammann set.

- The Gongquing Li book on Chinese Orders shows five pieces. Of interest is a set comprising breast star, dark blue sash and sash badge described as "3rd Class set." It also looks similar to the previous two sets, i.e dark blue sash, red central jade stone, blue surroundings. Fourth Class badges have a central blue jade disc and lower classes a central white jade disc.

2 - My pesronal conclusions on this :

- It seems that this republican order is quite rare, if not completely elusive.

- There is an issue to clarify with respect to the first three classes. It appears that tey are all comprising a breast star, a blue sash and a sash badge, with a central red jade disc for the star and sash badge, i.e something like a 1st Class with 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. This is what I understand from the Tammann catalog and from the Gongquing Li book when he refers to a thirsd Class set.

Maybe I am wrong on this. Any better idea ?

Regards.

KimKan

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James Peterson wrote an article on the Brilliant Jade in JOMSA. Here is some of what he said:

"According to various references, the establishment date is 2 December 1933 …"

"This order was originally actually two orders, or could be called a 10-class order with an entirely different insignia for the highest "extraordinary" class. According to pre-1945 China Year Books, the Grand Order of the Brilliant Jade (Cai Yu Da Xun Zhang) was the highest ranking Civil Order, in Grand Cordon Class only, awarded to the President of the Republic of China and the heads of other states. While the Orde of the Brilliant Jade (Cai Yu Xun Zhang) was the 5th Ranking Cvil Order, in 9 classes."

"According to a Chinese reference book, the new Grand Order was established 2 December 1933 to replace the old Grand Order (i.e. the little known Grand Order of 1912 which seems to have derived from the "Order of the Throne" of the last days of the Empire). By 1935 it had been awarded only to Guomindang Party Chairman (later President) Lin Shen, the King of Belgium, Wang Jingwei (later the traitor President of the Pro-Japanese Puppet Government) and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek."

"Of the 9-Class Order of the Brilliant Jade, the China Year Book lists 500 wards in various classes from July 1937 to December 1943 but none thereafter (to April, 1945). A Japanese encyclopaedia indicates that this order was adopted and awarded by Wang Jingwei's Puppet National Reorganised Government of China. This may be the reason why Chiang Kai-Shek's government stopped making awards, and apparently abolished the order; a list of Chinese Orders received from the Chinese Embassy in 1960 listed only the Grand Cordon Class of the Order of the Brilliant Jade, which is presumably the Grand Order."

Peterson goes on to describe in detail the insignia of the different classes. According to Peterson, the Grand (or Extraordinary Class) Order was a sash badge and breast star; the 1st Class was a sash badge and breast star; the 2nd Class was a sash badge and breast star; the 3rd Class was a neck badge; and the 4th - 9th Classes were breast badges.

This is the modern insignia of the single class Order of the Brilliant Jade with Grand Cordon awarded by the Government of Taiwan. Note the design is quite different to the 9-class Brilliant Jade awarded to the Second World War. I believe the design is the same/similar to the old Grand or Extraordinary Class so the insignia appears to have been retained while that of the nine classes were dropped.

Interestingly, the Nanking Puppet government's Order of National Glory followed a similar structure with an Extraordinary Class and 9 classes.

The Early Republic's Order of Rank and Merit also comprised a Grand Class and a First to Fifth Class.

http://english.president.gov.tw/Default.aspx?tabid=446

Edited by drclaw
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There appears to be some confusion as to the insignia / classes of the 9-class order, particularly the first three classes.

According to Peterson, insignia for the 1st and 2nd Class is very similar with the red centre jade except that the 1st Class has three red rings surrounding the centre medallion while the 2nd Class has two red rings. The 3rd Class, worn as a neck badge, has only a single red ring.

The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Classes had dark green jade (again, with three, two and one circular rings). The Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Class were white (with three, two and one circular rings).

Peterson states that the sash for the First Class was red, the Second Class white with red edges, and the Third Class blue (he refers to it as a neck cravat however it was also a sash, see below).

The example in Li Gongqing's book includes both a red jade sash badge and breast star with ONE circular ring which he describes as a 3rd Class. So it seems the Third Class was also a sash set although one possibility is that it was the 2nd Class, i.e. Grand Cordon, 1st Class, 2nd Class … Unfortunately, Li Gongqing's example does not include the presentation case whose inscription would confirm the class.

JCwater's website also has an exquisite Third Class. I've taken these images from his site - http://www.jcwater.net/show.asp?id=1097 Note the ONE circular red ring surrounding the centre medallion.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-11630-0-44876000-1399074406.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-11630-0-44294500-1399074454.jpg

Here is an example of a Second Class breast star. Note the TWO circular red rings surrounding the centre medallion.

Now, here are three specimens where the inscription on the presentation cases is da shoo or "grand cordon". The third example is from the recent Hong Kong Poly auction. HOWEVER, all the insignia only have ONE circular ring like the 3rd Class and the same dark blue sash.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-11630-0-33874500-1399075106.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-11630-0-55337300-1399075154.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-11630-0-11485700-1399075951.jpg

One explanation is that the same presentation cases were issued for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Classes as they were all sash sets or "Grand Cordons". Peterson wrote that the sizes for the 1st and 2nd Class were the same - 80mm for the badge, 93 mm for the star. So they would have all fit within the same case housings.

Only the original statutes will clarify this confusion. Unfortunately, I don't have these.

If we accept the theory that the same presentation cases were issued for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Classes, going back through some of the London / European auctions and using Peterson's three-, two-, one-ring description, the most commonly encountered insignia were the 3rd Class.

* Spink April 2011 - one ring, sash badge and star, blue sash - 3rd Class

* Hermann Historica December 2011 - one ring, sash badge and star - 3rd Class

* Tammann Collection UBS 2011 - TWO rings, sash badge and star - 2nd Class

* Hong Kong Poly Auction April 2014 - one ring, cloth presentation case with inscription da shao or grand cordon - 3rd Class

I'm sure there have been others since. The 3rd Class seems to be the most commonly encountered outside China (1-2 a year), more so than the other classes.

Edited by drclaw
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Dear all,

Thanks to Drclaw for these most interesting contributions, especially those pertaining to the number of red circles around the center. It is true that the China Year Book frequently provides very good information. I should have checked it in the first place. The 1937-1945 issue that I have been able to grab sheds new light on the upper classes of the Brillant Jade.

Page 98 reads : "Altogether 500 (awards) of this order were made from July 1937 to the end of 1943. They included three Special Grand Cordon, seven Grand Cordon, nine Plaque, six Special Cravat, 22 Cravat, five Special Rosette, five Rosette and three Ribbon Class in 1937......"

We can thus see that the first two grades are built upon a Grand Cordon set and that the third grade must look like a single "Plaque" or breast star, unless this Plaque also comprises a sash badge and sash, though I am a bit doubtful about that. Should this source prove reliable, there is still a problem with the third grade as the word "Plaque" may or may not mean complete set with sash and sah badge. At least, there is a breast star to count on....

Regards.

KimKan

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Page 98 reads : "Altogether 500 (awards) of this order were made from July 1937 to the end of 1943. They included three Special Grand Cordon, seven Grand Cordon, nine Plaque, six Special Cravat, 22 Cravat, five Special Rosette, five Rosette and three Ribbon Class in 1937......"

The description - "Special Cravat" vs. "Cravat" and "Special Rosette" vs "Rosette" - suggests the possibility that the Third Class and Fourth Class might have been split into two sub-classes.

In the Order of the Golden Grain - which the 9-Class Order of the Brilliant Jade replaced - the 2nd Class was split into a sash badge and breast star award, and a breast star only award.

While a very useful resource, the China Year Book is not always 100% correct. For example, the 1921-22 Year Book makes no mention whatsoever of the Order of the White Eagle in its overview on the Orders of the Early Republic.

Again, only the original statutes would confirm this. But in the absence of these, we can still make educated guesses based on the available literature and specimens.

Edited by drclaw
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Here are some images sourced from Chinese websites. Someone with better Mandarin that me might be able to translate the first two characters on the presentation case of the rosette breast badge.

Note the neck badge had two blue rings while the others have one blue ring. Peterson describes the colour of the jade as dark green, but it appears more blue.

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Wang Zhengting (1882-1961)

Wang Zhengting was a Chinese diplomat. His father was a Methodist Minister and Wang graduated from Yale with law in 1910. He was a Chinese delegate under Wellington Koo at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

He served as Foreign Minister and Finance Minister in the Beiyang Government, and then Foreign Minister under the Nationalists until 1931 when he was attacked by student protestors who blamed him for China's weak response to the Mukden Incident and hospitalised. He later served as Ambassador to the US from 1936-38.

After the defeat of the the Nationalists in 1949, Wang elected to stay in Hong Kong rather than follow the Chiang Kai-shek and his government to Taiwan.

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  • 1 month later...

Dear all,

Morton & Eden has just put online its July 2nd auction catalogue. There are many magnificent Chinese medals and a most striking set of the Brilliant Jade, catalogued under number 35. The description does match what has been written on this post so far. This is a cased "Ta Shou" or Grand Cordon set whose badges comprise only one red circular border in the center. As a result, it is described as a third class Grand Cordon set in the auction catalogue. Nothing to add to that. My understanding is that this specific class of the Grand Cordon was the highest possible grade bestowed upon foreigners and it always comes with a plain dark blue sash. Anyway, this is a beautiful piece indeed.

Regards

KimKan

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Thanks posting this KimKan. Yes, that is a beauty, especially given it is in its original lacquer case.

If the Third Class Grand Cordon set was the highest possible grade bestowed upon foreigners, that would explain why most of the examples of the Brilliant Jade we've seen are the Third Class. The other classes were only rarely awarded.

It might also explain why there's so few 1st and 2nd Class awards encountered. If these were ONLY awarded to Chinese, then for the insignia to have survived: (1) the recipient must have fled to Taiwan with the Nationalists; and (2) the recipient must have brought the insignia with them.

As we've seen, many high ranking Nationalists chose to stay on the mainland with the Communists. They would likely have destroyed their insignia, especially during the Cultural Revolution.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here are some stunning images from the example in Morton and Eden's upcoming 2 July auction.

It's stamped number 143 and comes in its original black lacquer presentation case with the characters Da Shou Cai Yu Xun Zhang (Grand Cordon Brilliant Jade Order).

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-11630-0-35038100-1403645367.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-11630-0-96915100-1403645384.jpg

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-11630-0-91147300-1403645408.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-11630-0-10196800-1403645424.jpg

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Dear all,

Yes, an extraordinary set indeed ! Too bad that the pictures provided by Morton & Eden do not show the whole set sitting within the original black lacquered box. It should be just amazing.

I am pretty confident that the bill that will tag along will be just as amazing.....this just the way it is when beautiful Chinese pieces hit the road....

:jumping:

Regards

KimKan

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Dear all,

Just a simple and possibly tricky question pops to mind. We can see on that specific set that it bears the number 143 on its reverse side. Similar numbers can be found on many Chinese orders. However, these numbers are always at a rather low level (in the tens or in the hundreds, never reaching the thousands with the exception of some commemorative medals and decorations where the number on the back can exceed four or even five digits).

Do we have to assume that each set has a specific number or that this number could refer to a group of sets, like that of a series comprising different sets. I have read in the past that some Chinese orders were issued at more or less regular time intervals and not in a continuous mode. Each attribution period could have been referred to with a specific number, all badges encapsulated within that attribution "campaign" bearing the same number.

Doe this technical possibility make sense ? When we look at the rather generous attribution policy of some Chinese orders over a long period of time, we could expect some high individual numbers if they were issued and struck on one-by-one basis. I must admit that not all badges were numbered on the back and that the best way to prove this possibility would consist in finding two badges with the very same number on the back.

Just food for thought, awaiting the Morton & Eden sale on July 2nd and the next one of Spink later on in July. Word has it that it comprises some excellent Chinese material as well.

Best regards.

KimKan

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Dear all,

Yes, nice pocket money indeed ! We have a happy seller and a new proud owner. This is just the way it is when it comes to public auction. The Morton & Eden sale had great many beautiful pieces to go and not only Chinese pieces. No doubt that such a nice display of quality materials plus a catalogue that we all keep as precious reference for the future (the American Numismatic Association auction a few years ago was an absolute must for Chinese medals) do attract high-end customers. I am convinced that all these beautiful Chinese items are just moving all the way back to where they came from.

Regards to all,

KimKan

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I think you're right KimKan. That's how consumer tastes evolve with economic development.

First you want a flatscreen TV, then a car, then an overseas holiday, then designer clothes and jewellery, finally fine wine and art. China passed the designer clothes and jewellery stage in the early 2000s so now it's fine wine, collectibles and art.

After decades of neglect, there's also a resurgence of interest in history - not just the Imperial past, but also the Republican and Nationalist period.

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