All officers of state, whether civil or military, from the highest to the lowest, have been named by the early Portuguese writers mandarins, from a word in their own language, mandar, to command; and this name, improper as it is, has preserved its ground ever since. The figure of a bird on the embroidered breast-plate of the annexed figure points him out as a civilian. A military officer wears the figure of an animal resembling the tiger. The degree of `rank`, whether civil or military, is marked by a small globe on the top of the cap, opake red coral distinguishing the highest, and brass the lowest `rank`: the intermediate colours are transparent red, opake and transparent blue, opake and transparent white. As a mark of imperial favour, one, two, or three feathers from the tail of the peacock are appended to the back part of the bonnet. All officers, whether civil or military, invariably wear thick-quilted boots, and, when in their court-dresses, embroidered petticoats. Most of them wear chains of coral, or agate, or coloured glass round the neck, as in the annexed figure.
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Picturesque Representations of the Dress and Manners of the Chinese, by William Alexander Published 1814