|Dimensions||10.5 × 7 × 2 cm|
ANTIQUE CHINESE IMPERIAL SILVER CIGARETTE CASE
FOR IMPERIAL NOBILITY AND CERTAIN HIGH-RANKING OFFICIALS
Hallmarked: Chinese Characters
Total 11 dragons.
Chinese silver cigarette case for high-ranking officials. Decoration with the dragon with 4 clawed. (The four-clawed dragon was typically for imperial nobility and certain high-ranking officials) Total 11 dragons.
The first Ming Emperor copied the Yuan ruling and decreed that the dragon would be his emblem and that it would have five toes (or claws) The four-clawed dragon was typically for imperial nobility and certain high-ranking officials. The three clawed dragon was used by lower ranks and the general public (widely seen on various Chinese goods in Ming Dynasty). The Long, however, was only for select royalty closely associated with the Imperial family, usually in various symbolic colors, while it was a capital offense for anyone — other than the emperor himself — to ever use the completely gold-colored, five-clawed Long dragon motif. Improper use of claw number and/or colors was considered treason, punishable by execution of the offender’s entire clan. Since most East Asian nations at one point or another were considered Chinese tributaries, they were only allowed four-clawed dragons.
The five toes rule was first enforced in AD 1336 (Yuan). “(For commoners) It is forbidden to wear any cloth with patterns of Qilin, Male Fenghuang (Chinese phoenix), White rabbit, Lingzhi, Five-Toe Two-Horn Long, Eight Longs, Nine Longs, ‘Ten thousand years’, Fortune-longevity character and Golden Yellow etc.”