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Qing Dynasty: Beiyang Navy, 1890-1910 (China)

Last modified: 2018-06-20 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: china | chinese empire | naval rank flags | dragon |
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Rank Flags, 1905

These flags are for officers of the Imperial Chinese Navy. Note that the Chinese titles listed in Flaggenbuch, 1905 [ruh05] were not correct at the time of its publication, and I have included the correct Chinese title below.
Miles Li, 20 March 2001

I would like to take this opportunity to revise some pages on the rank flags of the Imperial Chinese Navy, as more information have become available in a new book:

中國軍艦圖誌 (1855-1911)
Zhongguo junjian tuzhi (1855-1911)
by Chen Yue
Commercial Press (Hong Kong) Ltd 2013
ISBN 978 962 07 0361 4

The surname of the author is Chen, The relevant pages are pp.281-88
Miles Li, 04 June 2018


Minister of the Navy, or Admiral (de jure, probably not used)

[Admiral rank flag]
image by Miles Li and Mario Fabretto, 04 June 2018

Six horizontal stripes, blue-white-yellow-red-green-black, with a Chinese dragon in blue in the white [yellow] rectangle at the centre of the flag.
Miles Li, 20 March 2001


Admiral (Tidu) of the Beiyang Fleet (de facto)

Beiyang fleet admiral
image by Miles Li and Mario Fabretto, 04 June 2018


Admiral (Tidu) and Fleet Commander, or Vice Admiral (de jure, probably not used)

[Admiral rank flag]
image by Miles Li and Mario Fabretto, 04 June 2018

Five horizontal stripes, blue-white-yellow-red-green, with a Chinese dragon in blue in the white [yellow] rectangle at the centre of the flag.
Miles Li, 20 March 2001


Admiral (Tidu) and Squadron Commander, or Rear Admiral (de jure, probably not used)

[Admiral rank flag]
image by Miles Li and Mario Fabretto, 04 June 2018

Similar to vice admiral, but dragon in the white  [yellow] canton.
Miles Li, 20 March 2001


Commodore (Zongbing), or Commodore First Class (de jure, probably not used)

[Admiral rank flag]
image by Miles Li and Mario Fabretto, 04 June 2018

Commodore: I don't think this rank actually existed, but the flag was reported to be four horizontal stripes, black-white-yellow-red, with a Chinese dragon in blue in the white  [yellow] canton.
Miles Li, 20 March 2001


Leader (Duizhang), or Commodore Second Class (de jure and de facto)

[Admiral rank flag]
image by Miles Li and Mario Fabretto, 04 June 2018

Swallow-tailed, four horizontal stripes, red-yellow-green-white.
Miles Li, 20 March 2001


Commander (Tongling) of Torpedo Boats

[Commander (Tongling) of Torpedo Boats]
image by Miles Li, 05 June 2018

Five horizontal stripes, green-red-yellow-white-black, with a white square canton bearing the blue hexagram 'tai' (meaning peace) from the book I Ching.
Miles Li, 05 June 2018


Senior Mandarin

[Senior Mandarin]
image by Miles Li, 05 June 2018

Five horizontal stripes, red-green-yellow-black-white. Flown when a civilian official of the rank of Circuit Intendant (Daoyuan) or above, or an army officer of the rank of Brigadier (Zongbing) or above, was on board a Beiyang Navy ship.
Miles Li, 05 June 2018


Religious Flag

[Religious Flag]
image by Miles Li, 05 June 2018

Red with four black letters, to read from right to left "Tianshang Shengmu", literally "Holy Mother in Heaven", a title of Mazu the Chinese Sea Goddess. Flown on the 1st and the 15th day of each lunar month, as well as on the 23rd day of the third lunar month (birthday of Mazu) and on the 19th day of the second lunar month (ascension day of Mazu). Equivalent to church pennants of some Western navies.
Dimensions:
1st Class - 8ft 9in x 18ft 1in
2nd Class - 7ft x 15ft 2in
3rd Class - 5ft 10in x 12ft 10in
Miles Li, 05 June 2018


Duty Pennant

[Duty Pennant]
image by Miles Li, 05 June 2018


Mealtime Pennant

[Duty Pennant]
image by Miles Li, 05 June 2018


Masthead Pennant

[Duty Pennant]
image by Miles Li, 05 June 2018

Note: actual pennants were much longer than that illustrated here.
Dimensions:
1st Class - 6in x 46ft 8in, the blue hoist being 7ft long
2nd Class - 6in x 35ft, the blue hoist being 5ft 10in long
3rd Class - 4 2/3in x 23ft 4in, the blue hoist being 4ft 8in long
Miles Li, 05 June 2018