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>Costume Studies
>>1873 Black Flag bandit
Subject: Black Flag bandit / mercenary
Culture: Yunnan Chinese
Setting: Tonkin / north Vietnam 19thc





Context (Event Photos, Period Sources)

​* Jowett ill. Embleton 2016 p44
"The Black Flags and their Yellow Flag rivals were Chinese irregulars, largely refugees from the Taiping armies defeated by the Qing Dynasty in the 1860s, who had settled as bandits in the highlands of North Vietnam. Although still generally hostile to the regime they were happy to fight against the invading French when incited to do so by local mandarins in 1883-84, and the Chinese were willing to arm them as proxies rather than sending more Imperial troops into Vietnam."


Costume

* Jowett ill. Embleton 2016 p7 caption
"This lithograph from a European magazine imagines an attack by Black Flag mercenaries against a French post during the Tonkin war of 1884-85; it shows small bamboo sun hats, long plain cotton tunics, and the broad trousers worn in the southern regions."

​* Jowett ill. Embleton 2016 p44 (reconstructing a Black Flag standard-bearer, Tonkin 1884)
"The white cloth disc on his jerkin displays the black character for 'Liu', for the Black Flags' formidable leader Liu Yung-fu. He is wearing a large sun hat as used by many troops in southern China, and is armed with an Enfield P1853 muzzle-loading percussion rifle-musket. ... The Black Flags usually wore bandoliers, but witnesses also report some wearing sleeveless vests looped for cartridges."


Saber

​* Jowett ill. Embleton 2016 p44 (reconstructing a Black Flag standard-bearer, Tonkin 1884)
"Local machetes were ... commonly carried; the Black Flags routinely took heads, which mandarins paid a scale of bounties (the highest being for a European officer)."