Kuo Shu, National Credentials (cover)

Ch'ing dynasty (A.D. 1644 1911)
34.5 x 248.0 cm

National Credentials (or Letters of Credence) are the documents given to a head of state by another head of state on behalf of his government. They are delivered by special commissioners on occasions of international negotiations, and by the ambassador on his inauguration or resignation. The Palace Museum has a number of credentials from Korea, Russia, Annam, Thailand, Belgium, Burma, the Vatican and Japan. The illustration shows a document of this type dispatched by the Ch'ing Empire to Great Britain in both Chinese and Manchu versions. Dated 1905, it bears the imperial seal, is in folded-sheet form, and has dragons playing with pearls as the cover design.

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