Insignia badges were first introduced shortly after the establishment of the Ming dynasty in 1368. The earliest laws governing insignia badges date from 1391. Those laws specified that imperial dukes were permitted to wear badges decorated with the mythical qilin. However, during the Ming period, the right to actually wear the appropriate badge also had to be granted by the emperor himself, as an honor. Rank in itself did not entitle even the highest noble to wear insignia badges.
Another example of this design survives in a private collection, and is published by Jackson & Hugus, Ladder to the Clouds, 1999, p. 111. That badge has an identical pattern, but is woven on a red ground, and has been re-used in Tibet for ritual purpose.