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Imperial Guards Brigade of Manchu Bannermen (China)

Qing Dynasty Imperial Guards Eight Banners

Last modified: 2020-07-31 by ian macdonald
Keywords: china | banner | imperial china | manchu |
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Overview

The Imperial Guards Brigade of Manchu Bannermen were a select detachment of cavalry officers responsible for guarding the Forbidden City in Beijing, especially the Emperor of China and his family, during the Qing Dynasty.
They are composed of eight brigades called banner and actually they had eachbanner.
The banner system was established by Nurhaci in the early seventeenth century. By 1601 Nurhaci was reorganizing his military forces into the basic structure of the banners and some evidence suggests that he might have started as much as a decade earlier.
The Eight Banners consisted of three ethnic components: the Manchu, the Han, and the Mongols. Beginning in the late 1620s, Nurhaci's successors incorporated allied and conquered Mongol tribes into the Eight Banner system.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 04 December 2009

Actually the Eight Banners were much more complex than that.
Firstly, the Eight Banners, as created by Nurhaci (the first Khan of Manchuria), was both a military and social division. Later the Eight Banners system was duplicated for the Mongols and the Han Chinese (in the latter case a purely military division), so there were actually 24 Banners in total. In addition there were the Green Standard Army, primarily a gendarmerie force made up predominently of Han Chinese, as well as various irregular troops from ethnic minorities.
Secondly, Each Banner is divided into arms-of-service, such as Imperial Guards, infantry, cavalry, vanguard, artillery, and siege battalions, each with their distinctive banner designs; moreover, each battalion has two types of banners, which can roughly be translated into "General's Colours" and "Colonel's Colours".
The full list of military and ceremonial banners of the Qing Dynasty are documented in the Illustrations of Ceremonial Objects of the Dynasty (皇朝禮器圖式) of the Siku Quanshu (四庫全書), written in Classical Chinese between 1773 and 1782, fascimile copies of which may be found in some major university libraries.
Miles Li, 06 December 2009


The Eight Banners

First three Banners were under direct control of the Emperor.

[postal ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 04 December 2009

Plain Yellow Banner with gold dragon, clowds and thunders established in 1601.

[postal ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 04 December 2009

Bordered Yellow Banner with gold dragon, clouds and thunders established in 1616.

[postal ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 12 December 2009

Plain White Banner with gold dragon, clouds and thunders established in 1601.

[postal ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 12 December 2009

Bordered White Banner with dragon, clouds and thunders established in 1616.

[postal ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 13 December 2009

Bordered Red Banner with gold dragon, clouds and thunders established in 1616.

[postal ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 13 December 2009

Bordered Blue Banner with gold dragon, clouds and thuners established in 1616.

[postal ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 14 December 2009

Plain Red Banner with gold dragon, clouds and thunders established in 1601.

[postal ensign]
image by Jaume Ollé, 14 December 2009

Plain Blue Banner with gold dragon, clouds and thunders established in 1601.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 04 December 2009

The DoV shows illustrations of the eight divisional banners of the Imperial Chinese Army as being without the elaborate charges used by the Imperial bodyguard (which our source said that they were), however, in default of any further information on the subject I drew them with proportions of 1:1?
Your gifs seem to imply that a ratio of 5:4 (or similar) would be more correct, but before sending any updated drawings I would like your opinion?
Christopher Southworth, 06 December 2009

The images were taken from Chinese reliable flag book titled ATLAS OF FLAGS IN CHINA 2003.
The eight banners images shown on book marks I bought in Beijing Forbidden Castle are the same as the above book.
I believe the design of eight banners 1601 and 1616 are all accurate.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 12 December 2009



 
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