Court Beads: Manchu Rank Symbols in the Náprstek Museum

Pages 95–106
DOI 10.2478/anpm-2019-0017
Keywords Buddhist rosaries, Court beads, Material Culture Studies, Qing Dynasty, Scholars-officials, Chinese dress, Chinese jewellery
Type of Article Materialia
Citation HEROLDOVÁ, Helena. Court Beads: Manchu Rank Symbols in the Náprstek Museum. Annals of the Náprstek Museum. Prague: National Museum, 2019, 40(2), 95–106. DOI: ISSN 0231-844X (print), 2533-5685 (online). Also available from:
Annals of the Náprstek Museum | 2019/40/2

Court beads worn with formal dress represented one of the symbols of social standing of the Qing dynasty aristocracy and officialdom. The appearance of court beads and material used for their production were prescribed in the 18th century encyclopaedic work The Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Imperial Court. Nowadays, court beads are found in antiquities markets and in museum collections. The Náprstek Museum in Prague also keeps a small collection distinguished from the several tens of pieces of Qing dynasty formal dress, dress accessories, and other signs of social rank, the number of these items are surprisingly few. In order to answer the question about the scarcity of the objects, the origin of the collection has been studied.

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