Order of the Lion and Sun, Type III, IV Class (with couchant lion)
Image courtesy of Andreas Thies
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The Order of the Lion and Sun was originally instituted by Fath-Ali Shah Qajar, the second Qajar emperor of Iran, in 1808. The Order was conferred upon senior government officers and foreigners in recognition of admirable and distinguished service provided to the State. In 1939, Reza Shah Pahlavi replaced the Order with the Order of Homayoun (Order of August).
Since its institution, the Order has undergone numerous organizational changes. The Type III Order was instituted under the reign of Nasser-ed-Din Shah in 1848 or 1856 and is believed to have been in use until 1872 when further amendments were made to the Order. An additional 9th class which features diamonds and was conferred to military personnel of the rank of "mir panj," or lieutenant-general, was added to the Order. Additionally, the Type III Order replaced the jewelled insignia found in awards under the Type II Order with a silver base metal, but examples of jewels and diamonds, along with various other compositions, of Type III awards are known to exist. Due to the complexity of the award, a lack of information, and changes over time, the regulations of award, class, and degree criteria of the Order remain unclear.
Continuing the format of the Type II Order, each class of the Type III Order was also awarded in 3 degrees. However, there is much uncertainty surrounding the distinguishing award criteria for the 3 Degrees. Due to this complexity, the 3 Degrees and their differences in composition and award regulations are not categorized on MedalBook.
The IV Class features 5 rays and 1 bands of silver ball finials or other jewels surrounding the centre medallion. The qualifying award criteria for the IV Class is uncertain. The IV Class may have been worn from a neck ribbon, breast ribbon, or by pin. More information is needed.
There are multiple versions of the IV Class Decoration which vary by design and composition. The Order is known to feature 2 distinct badge pendant designs. The centre medallion of the Order's badge depicts either a statant (standing) lion holding a sword or a resting (couchant) lion. Various sources posit that the statant lion was issued to recipients in recognition of military service, while couchant lions were awarded to denote civil service. However, other sources believe that the statant lion was awarded to Persian nationals and the couchant lion was awarded to foreigners. More research is necessary.
Additional versions of the IV Class Decoration which feature rubies, sapphires, diamonds, or other compositions may be encountered. The IV Class Decoration may also feature an Iranian crown, but more research is needed. Due to the complexity and uncertainty surrounding the Order, versions which are distinguished by composition and which do not have an associated image are not featured here.
There is also great variation across designs of both the statant and couchant lion. This is due to multiple European, Russian, and Iranian manufacturers of the Order; who abide by different production regulations and procedures. Additionally, the centre medallion of the badge pendant is hand painted, making examples of the Order highly variant and unique.
There are multiple ribbon pattern and colour variations worn with the award.
There is limited information regarding this item.
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