Flag of the Qing dynasty

Last updated
Great Qing
Flag of the Qing Dynasty (1862-1889).svg
Name Yellow Dragon Flag (黃龍旗)
Use State and war flag, state and naval ensign FIAV historical.svg
Proportion2:3 [1]
Adopted1862
DesignBlue dragon on plain yellow, with a red pearl at the upper left corner.
Flag of China (1889-1912).svg
Variant flag of national flag Great Qing
Name Later version of Yellow Dragon Flag
Use National flag and ensign FIAV historical.svg
Proportion5:8
Adopted1889

The flag of the Qing dynasty was an emblem adopted in the late 19th century featuring the Azure Dragon on a plain yellow field with the red flaming pearl of the three-legged crow in the upper left corner. It became the first national flag of China and is usually referred to as the "Yellow Dragon Flag" (traditional Chinese :黃龍旗; simplified Chinese :黄龙旗; pinyin :huánglóngqí).

Contents

Ruling China from 1644 until the overthrow of the monarchy during the Xinhai Revolution, the Qing dynasty was the last imperial dynasty in China's history. Between 1862 and 1912, the dynasty represented itself with the dragon flag.

Design

Throughout the history of China's imperial dynasties, yellow was considered the royal color of successive Chinese emperors. The legendary first emperor of China was known as the Yellow Emperor (traditional Chinese :黃帝; simplified Chinese :黄帝; pinyin :huángdì). Members of the imperial family of China at that time were the only ones allowed to display the color yellow in buildings and on garments. The Emperor of China usually used a Chinese dragon as a symbol of the imperial power and strength. Generally, a five-clawed dragon was used by emperors only.

In Chinese culture, a flaming pearl is shown on top of the dragon's head. The pearl is associated with wealth, good luck, and prosperity.

The design of the flag was largely based on the Plain Yellow Banner, the one of three "upper" banner armies among the Eight Banners under the direct command of the emperor himself, and one of the four "right wing" banners. [2] [3]

The Eight Banners

The Eight Banners were administrative/military divisions under the Qing dynasty into which all Manchu households were placed. In war, the Eight Banners functioned as armies, but the banner system was also the basic organizational framework of all of Manchu society.

Triangular version (1862–1889)

Triangular version Flag of the Qing Dynasty (1862-1889).svg
Triangular version

The Arrow Incident of 1856 occurred as a result of Chinese civilian vessels flying foreign flags as the Qing dynasty had no official flag at the time. [4] In 1862, sailors from the Chinese and British navies clashed at Wuhan on the Yangtze River. In response to the British navy's claim of being unable to distinguish between Chinese governmental or navy ships and civilian vessels, Yixin (Prince Gong) urged Zeng Guofan to create a governmental flag for the Qing, and suggested use of a yellow dragon flag, which was also used as one of the Eight Banners of the Manchu as well as in the Chinese army. After due consideration, Zeng Guofan concluded that a square flag bore too close a resemblance to the Plain Yellow Banner of the Eight Banners with the potential to be viewed as an endorsement of the Eight Banners hierarchy, he instead removed one corner to create a triangular flag. [3]

The triangular version of the yellow dragon flag was restricted to naval and governmental use only, no civilian ships were permitted to fly the yellow pennant, and it never formally became the national flag. [5] However, on some diplomatic occasions and at international exhibitions, this flag was used to represent China.

Rectangular version (1889–1912)

Rectangular version Flag of China (1889-1912).svg
Rectangular version

In September 1881, when the two cruisers Chaoyong and Yangwei ordered from Birkenhead, England were sent to China, Li Hongzhang realized a triangular ensign was unique among naval flags of other countries. As a result, he petitioned the imperial court for permission and subsequently altered the triangular naval flag into a rectangular one. [6]

Seeing Western countries flying national flags on official occasions, Li Hongzhang also asked Empress Dowager Cixi to select a national flag for the Qing dynasty. Among the proposals for use of the Ba gua flag, the Yellow dragon flag and the Qilin flag, Cixi selected the Yellow dragon design. In 1888, the imperial court promulgated the naval flag as the Qing national flag. [7]

Influence

The Palace of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa (Tibet). This is a collector card from serie 71, "Scenes From Around the World - midday in Berlin", #5/12 card. Yellow Dragon Flag, within the upper right part. Palast des dalailama.jpg
The Palace of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa (Tibet). This is a collector card from serie 71, "Scenes From Around the World - midday in Berlin", #5/12 card. Yellow Dragon Flag, within the upper right part.

The notion of yellow as representative of Manchu ethnicity was used in the flags of the Five Races Under One Union flag of the Republic of China, and on the flag of the Empire of China, respectively, although in 1912 the former was challenged by Sun Yat-sen, who thought it inappropriate to use the traditional imperial color to represent Manchu ethnicity. [8] Also, mustard yellow was used in the flag of Manchukuo in deference to the Qing dynasty, on whose flag it was based.

The blue dragon was featured in the Twelve Symbols national emblem, which was the state emblem of China from 1913 to 1928.

Horatio Nelson Lay's Proposal (1862)

When the Qing dynasty purchased warships from the United Kingdom in 1862, Horatio Nelson Lay designed several naval flags based on the custom flag he designed. [9] These proposals were not recognized by the Qing dynasty government. [10]

Beiyang Fleet (1874–1890)

The Beiyang Fleet was created in 1874, and several rank flags were introduced based on the traditional five color officials' flags of the old Chinese navy.

Beiyang Navy (1890–1909)

The Beiyang Fleet became the national navy by Regulations of the Beiyang Fleet in 1888. However, rank flags were not updated until 1890, when William Metcalfe Lang and Liu Buchan disputed about their rank flags in an incident. Therefore, the British Royal Navy advisers proposed five new rank flags to replace the simple two rank flags system. [11]

However these proposals were not adopted by the Qing dynasty. [12] New rank flags were introduced later in 1890. [13]

Imperial Navy (1909–1911)

After the total defeat of the Beiyang Navy in First Sino-Japanese War in 1894, the new imperial navy was reorganized following the establishment of the department of the navy in 1909. Imperial Chinese Navy adopted the national flag in the canton of naval flags in 1909. [14]

Flags based on the Qing dynasty flag

Chinese Eastern Railway

Flag of Chinese Eastern Railway adopted a combination of Qing dynasty and Russian flags. The flag was not updated until 1915. [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Manchu are an ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria derives its name. They are sometimes called "red-tasseled Manchus", a reference to the ornamentation on traditional Manchu hats. The Later Jin (1616–1636) and Qing dynasty (1636–1912) were established and ruled by Manchus, who are descended from the Jurchen people who earlier established the Jin dynasty (1115–1234) in China.

The Eight Banners were administrative and military divisions under the Later Jin and the Qing dynasty of China into which all Manchu households were placed. In war, the Eight Banners functioned as armies, but the banner system was also the basic organizational framework of all of Manchu society. Created in the early 17th century by Nurhaci, the banner armies played an instrumental role in his unification of the fragmented Jurchen people and in the Qing dynasty's conquest of the Ming dynasty.

Hong Taiji 1st emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1592–1643)

Hong Taiji, sometimes written as Huang Taiji and formerly referred to as Abahai in Western literature, was the second khan of the Later Jin and the founding emperor of the Qing dynasty. He was responsible for consolidating the empire that his father Nurhaci had founded and laid the groundwork for the conquest of the Ming dynasty, although he died before this was accomplished. He was also responsible for changing the name of the Jurchen ethnicity to "Manchu" in 1635, and changing the name of his dynasty from "Great Jin" to "Great Qing" in 1636. The Qing dynasty lasted until 1912.

Bordered Yellow Banner

The Bordered Yellow Banner was one of the Eight Banners of Manchu military and society during the Later Jin and Qing dynasty of China. The Bordered Yellow Banner was one of three "upper" banner armies under the direct command of the emperor himself, and one of the four "left wing" banners. The Plain Yellow Banner and the Bordered Yellow Banner were split from each other in 1615, when the troops of the original four banner armies were divided into eight by adding a bordered variant to each banner's design. The yellow banners were originally commanded personally by Nurhaci. After Nurhaci's death, his son Hong Taiji became khan, and took control of both yellow banners. Later, the Shunzhi Emperor took over the Plain White Banner after the death of his regent, Dorgon, to whom it previously belonged. From that point forward, the emperor directly controlled three "upper" banners, as opposed to the other five "lower" banners. Because of the direct control of the three upper banners, there was no appointed banner commanders as opposed to the other five. The emperor's personal guards and guards of Forbidden City were also only selected from the upper three banners.

Five Races Under One Union Political principle of the Republic of China

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Ronglu Qing dynasty politician and military leader

Ronglu, courtesy name Zhonghua, was a Manchu political and military leader of the late Qing dynasty. He was born in the Guwalgiya clan, which was under the Plain White Banner of the Manchu Eight Banners. Deeply favoured by Empress Dowager Cixi, he served in a number of important civil and military positions in the Qing government, including the Zongli Yamen, Grand Council, Grand Secretary, Viceroy of Zhili, Beiyang Trade Minister, Secretary of Defence, Nine Gates Infantry Commander, and Wuwei Corps Commander. He was also the maternal grandfather of Puyi, the last Emperor of China and the Qing dynasty.

Plain Yellow Banner

The Plain Yellow Banner was one of the Eight Banners of Manchu military and society during the Later Jin and Qing dynasty of China. The Plain Yellow Banner was one of three "upper" banner armies under the direct command of the emperor himself, and one of the four "right wing" banners. The Plain Yellow Banner was the original banner commanded personally by Nurhaci. The Plain Yellow Banner and the Bordered Yellow Banner were split from each other in 1615, when the troops of the original four banner armies were divided into eight by adding a bordered variant to each banner's design. After Nurhaci's death, his son Hong Taiji became khan, and took control of both yellow banners. Later, the Shunzhi Emperor took over the Plain White Banner after the death of his regent, Dorgon, to whom it previously belonged. From that point forward, the emperor directly controlled three "upper" banners, as opposed to the other five "lower" banners.

The Qing dynasty (1636–1912) of China developed a complicated peerage system for royal and noble ranks.

Zaize Fengen Zhenguo Gong and acting Beizi

Zaize, born Zaijiao, courtesy name Yinping, was a Manchu noble of the Qing dynasty. He is best known for supporting reforms and advocating the adoption of a constitutional monarchy system in the final years of the Qing dynasty.

Imperial Chinese Navy

The Imperial Chinese Navy was the modern navy of the Qing Empire established in 1875. An Imperial naval force in China first came into existence from 1132 during the Song Dynasty and existed in some form until the end of the Qing period in 1912. However, the "Imperial Chinese Navy" usually only refers to the Qing navy which existed between 1875 and 1912.

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Booi Aha

Booi Aha is a Manchu word literally meaning "household person", referring to hereditarily servile people in 17th-century Qing China. It is often directly translated as "bondservant", although sometimes also rendered as "slave" ("nucai").

Military of the Qing dynasty Historical military force

The Qing dynasty (1636–1912) was established by conquest and maintained by armed force. The founding emperors personally organized and led the armies, and the continued cultural and political legitimacy of the dynasty depended on the ability to defend the country from invasion and expand its territory. Therefore, military institutions, leadership, and finance were fundamental to the dynasty's initial success and ultimate decay. The early military system centered on the Eight Banners, a hybrid institution that also played social, economic, and political roles. The Banner system was developed on an informal basis as early as 1601, and formally established in 1615 by Jurchen leader Nurhaci (1559–1626), the retrospectively recognized founder of the Qing. His son Hong Taiji (1592–1643), who renamed the Jurchens "Manchus," created eight Mongol banners to mirror the Manchu ones and eight "Han-martial" banners manned by Chinese who surrendered to the Qing before the full-fledged conquest of China proper began in 1644. After 1644, the Ming Chinese troops that surrendered to the Qing were integrated into the Green Standard Army, a corps that eventually outnumbered the Banners by three to one.

Twelve Symbols national emblem

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Oros Niru

Oros Niru was a Manchu military unit of Qing dynasty China. It consisted of Russian Cossacks that were captured during the border conflicts between the Russian empire and Qing China. Formally, this niru was known as the 17th niru of the 4th jalan of the Manju Gusa ejen of Bordered Yellow Banner(鑲黃旗滿洲都統第四參領第十七佐領).

Yanja (颜扎氏) was one of the Manchu clans belonging to the Plain Yellow Banner.

References

  1. Dimension of first yellow dragon flag from Wuhan Custom Archive
  2. Elliott 2001, p. 79.
  3. 1 2 施爱东 (Shi Aidong) (2011). Qing dragon flag flourished through 50 years of sorrow (哀旗不幸 怒旗不争 大清龙旗50年). 民族艺术. p. 6. (in Chinese)
  4. 肖吟新 (Xiao Yinxin) (2002). The story of the Qing dynasty national flag (清代国旗的故事). 世纪. p. 63. (in Chinese)
  5. "係為雇船捕盜而用,並未奏明定為萬年國旗", "[the flag] is used for ferry and policing, but is not explicitly designated as the permanent national flag", from 《北洋水師章程》(Regulations of the Beiyang Fleet) (in Chinese)
  6. "今中國兵商各船日益加增,時與各國交接,自應重定旗式,以祟體制。應將兵船國旗改為長方式,照舊黃色,中畫青色飛龍。", "Nowadays the number of both Chinese military and commercial ships is growing. When our ships meet those of other nations they should display a flag based on a conformed system. [The government] should change the military flag to a pennant with an azure dragon in the middle",《北洋水師章程》(Regulations of the Beiyang Fleet) (in Chinese)
  7. 《清朝国旗考》(Study on the Flag of Qing), 育民 (in Chinese)
  8. "Story of the National Flag, official website of the Kuomintang" . Retrieved 11 February 2014. (in Chinese)
  9. The London Gazette, 13 February 1863
  10. Lay-Osborne Flotilla (China)
  11. Drawings of the flags in use at the present time by various nations, Royal Navy Admiral
  12. Images of Chinese Naval Ships(1855-1911) / 中国军舰图志(1855-1911)" by Chen Rui 陈悦, ISBN   9787545811544
  13. 清国北洋海軍実況一班
  14. Source: 北京故宮《海軍旗式及章服圖說》 Archived 2014-01-09 at the Wayback Machine ("Illustration of Naval flags and Uniforms", Palace Museum, Beijing, China)
  15. Chinese Eastern Railway Company (China)

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