The Mandarins : Ch’ing Dynasty hat knobs of mandarin officials
To the outsider, the very word “mandarin” suggests someone from old China’s ruling class. In a sense, this is true, but only partly. The mandarin was nothing more or less than a civil servant, an employee of the state, who earned his title – in China, kwan, or, public character -and earned his
post by passing a series of examinations, frequently as many as seven. Each dynasty had its own mandarin ranks, but for purposes of simplicity there can be said to have been nine: three each drawn from the lower, the middle, and the upper classes.
Outwardly, mandarins were distinguished by a cap with a special button, a robe with the insignia of their rank embroidered on the breast and back, and a girdle clasp. Military mandarins wore insignia denoting animals, real or imaginary. A mandarin of the civil as opposed to the military service might display a Manchurian crane or pheasant. The highest mandarins were the custodians of Chinese culture, and had to pass a series of seven examinations to attain the highest rank. Their intellectual and artistic accomplishments were likely to include excellence in calligraphy, the ability to recite learned books from memory and to create extemporaneous poetry. Such powerful minds earned great respect, which, in turn, ensured monetary success as well as considerable status in the community. One Chinese scholar, T. C. Lai, has written that “people in dynastic China aspired to be mandarins more fervently than people now aspire to be millionaires.” The mandarins of the higher ranks were expected to lead lives of great probity. They were never assigned to the province from whence they came. they were prohibited from marriage and owning property, nor could they serve for more than three years in any one province. The birth of the Republic of China under Dr. Sun Yat-sen marked the death of the mandarin orders. Ling Chu-Ch’uan was one of the last to take the examinations; and, because of his great years, he was certainly one of the few remaining men to survive a class and a China which are no more. There was much to be desired in China’s examination system: Many categories were not allowed to take the examinations including women, and many of the exam questions were irrelevant to a China confronted with the modernization of the West; but at least it was a system which valued knowledge and learning and scholarship.
ICCR Notes :
ICCR recommends that the presentation of full Manchu Court Robes for the State government of Manchuria and formal Mandarin ‘top hats’ to Manchurian Courtiers with parallels for Han officials’ hat in Han majority states, upon retirement of PRC officials. When the local Manchurian Royal Courts are reinstated as per the ICCR vision for the Imperium Sinensis, the same should be presented upon appointment to the relevant posts.
Reintroducing the Orders of the Royal Manchurian Court (vassal to the Imperial Court of Ying III)
The orders shown above were last issued by the then Manchu Emperor in the late 1800s are the first modern orders to appear China. To show solidarity with the PRC and loyalty to the neo-Imperial movement Court of Emperor Ying III, the descendants various orders of the Manchurian era whose original holders have now passed on are being invited to attend a Monarchist’s meeting at the Royal Manchurian Palace. HM the King of Manchuria is applying for permission from the PRC to use the Manchurian Changchun Palace Grounds for this revival initiative, where all Imperial
Grade Orders and regalia will be reissued as Royal Grade Orders with accompanying Royal Grade regalia. Any individuals who have directly inherited and are in possession of the Manchu citations and regalia of the 1800s are requested to communicate with ICCR.
Detailed updates on Royal Manchurian Orders (subordinate to the Imperial Orders and the Dragon Throne at the Forbidden City) will be posted as new photos are sourced.