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Chinese flag, Lieutenant of the Vanguard Brigade


Object connections:

Collection Flags, China
ExhibitionsTraders: The East India Company and Asia
User collections Collectables (All) by blueheatwave
Collectables (Asia) by blueheatwave
Traders Remixed - Power by YouthAdvisoryGroup
The Company in crisis by NMMExhibitions
Gallery locationTraders Gallery (Floor plans)
PeopleProvenance: McClure, Robert John Le Mesurier
EventsSecond Opium War: Capture of Canton, 1857, Second Opium War, 1857-1860

Object details:

Object ID AAA0559
Description Imperial Chinese flag acquired by Robert John Le Mesurier McClure (1807-73) during the capture of Canton in December 1857. The City of Canton was attacked by a combined British and French force. McClure led one of three divisions of the British naval brigade. On the 29 December, the French and British stormed the city by scaling the walls. The flag is made of blue sateen-woven silk with a blue cotton hoist. The design depicts a winged tiger made of gold foil applied to the surface of the flag. It is holding lightning flashes and has green eyes. Tongues of flame are shown around the border of the flag. The details have been added in black ink and oil paint. Six ties at the hoist would have been used to attach it to a pole. Similar flags are shown flown by vessels of the Imperial fleet 'The Kangxi Emperor's southern inspection tour' Nanjing to Jinshan, 1698. The flag was used by the Lieutenant of the Vanguard Brigade. According to Da Qing Huidian Tu ('Illustrated Collected Statutes of the Great Qing'). The design (a winged tiger in this case) should be gold-painted, but it seems that there is no particular rule regarding the colour of the flag.
Date made 1857

Place made China
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials silk; cotton
Measurements Flag: 1524 x 1701.8 mm; Framed Dimensions: 1740 x 1905 x 75 mm
  • Chinese flag, Lieutenant of the Vanguard Brigade (AAA0559)
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