Royal and Noble Ranks of the Qing Dynasty
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Royal and Noble Ranks of the Qing Dynasty

The Qing dynasty (1644-1912) of China developed a complicated peerage system for royal and noble ranks.

Rule of inheritance

In principle, titles were downgraded one grade for each generation of inheritance.

  • Direct imperial princes with the Eight Privileges were downgraded for four generations, after which the title can be inherited without further downgrades.
  • Direct imperial princes without the Eight Privileges were downgraded until the rank of feng'en jiangjun, which then became perpetual.
  • Cadet line imperial princes and lords were downgraded until they reached feng'en jiangjun, which could be further inherited three times before the title expired completely.
  • For non-imperial peers, the title could be downgraded to en jiwei before becoming perpetually heritable.

Occasionally, a peer could be granted the privilege of shixi wangti (?; shìxí w?ngtì; "perpetual heritability"), which allowed the title to be passed down without downgrading. Throughout the Qing dynasty, there were 12 imperial princely families who enjoyed this privilege. They were known as the "iron-cap princes".

The noble titles were inherited through a system of loose primogeniture: The eldest son from the peer's first wife was usually the heir apparent, but inheritance by a younger son, a son of a concubine, or brother of the peer was not uncommon. Non-heir sons of imperial princes were entitled to petition for a lower title, according to his birth (by the chief consort, secondary consort or concubines) and his father's rank, than the one they would have received had they been the heir. Non-heir sons of other peers were also occasionally granted a lower title.

Whether imperial or not, the inheritance or creation was never automatic, and must be approved either by the Emperor, the Ministry of Personnel, or the Imperial Clan Court. Imperial princes, upon reaching adulthood at the age of 20, must pass tests in horse-riding, archery and the Manchu language before they were eligible for titles. Imperial princesses, other than the Emperor's daughters, were usually granted titles upon marriage, regardless of age. Princesses' titles were also usually fixed after they were granted, and were not affected by changes in their fathers' nobility ranks.

Grading system

Yunjiwei ("sub-commander of the cloud cavalry") was originally a military rank created in the Sui dynasty, but it was later turned into a military honour in the Tang dynasty as part of the xun guan (; x?n gu?n) system. The Qing dynasty abolished the separate military honour system and merged it into the nobility rank system, using yunjiwei as the lowest grantable rank of nobility, and the basic unit of rank progression.

For example, a yunjiwei who received another grant of yunjiwei became a jiduwei. A first-class duke plus yunjiwei was the equivalent of 23 grants of yunjiwei.

Official rank (pin)

The Qing dynasty, much like previous dynasties, used an "official rank" system (?; p?n). This system had nine numbered ranks, each subdivided into upper and lower levels, in addition to the lowest "unranked" rank: from upper first pin (), to lower ninth pin (), to the unranked (), for a total of 19 ranks. All government personnel, from the highest chancellors to the lowest clerk, held an official rank ex officio, which determined their salary, uniform, privileges and order of precedence.

This pin system existed in parallel to the noble ranks detailed in this article. Many higher noble titles ranked above this system (; ch?op?n). And while some titles corresponded to a pin, they were considered equivalents of convenience rather than actual official ranks.

Titular names

Historically, Chinese noble titles were usually created with a shiyi (; shíyì; fief) each, even though the fief may only be nominal. The Hongwu Emperor of the Ming dynasty enfeoffed cadet branch princes and other nobles in different regions of China. The Qing dynasty ended this tradition; with only a few exceptions, no fief was ever named. No Qing prince was enfeoffed with territory. Instead, noble titles were created without a name, or were bestowed a meihao (; me?hào; titular name). These names were usually descriptive of the peer's merit, virtue, or the circumstances leading to his ennoblement. The Dukes Yansheng kept their traditional fief in Shandong under Qing rule.

Titular names were unique for imperial princes, while non-imperial peers' titular names may overlap. Following Ming dynasty tradition, single-character names were reserved for qinwangs, while junwangs used two-character names. All other peers normally had two-character names, but may receive up to four characters.

Since noble titles were primarily awarded for military service, the titular names predominantly described martial virtues, e.g., zhongyong gong (; zh?ngy?ng g?ng; "loyal and brave duke"). However, a particularly common titular name was cheng'en gong (; chéng'?n g?ng; "duke who receives grace"), which was frequently granted to the Empress's family members.

Imperial clan

Eight Privileges

At the top of the imperial hierarchy, the highest six ranks enjoyed the "Eight Privileges" (; bafen; jak?n ubu). These privileges were red carriage wheels, purple horse reins, heated carriages, purple cushions, gemstone mandarin hat crests, two-eyed peacock feathers on mandarin hats, use of leather whips to clear the path, and employment of eunuchs.

Peacock feathers, however, were prohibited for princes above the rank of beizi and direct imperial clansmen. The "Eight Privileges" entitled the prince to participate in state councils and share the spoils of war. However, the prince was also bound to reside in the capital and render service to the imperial court.

Male members

  • Heshuo qinwang (?‍
    ho?o-i cin wang; ?; ?; héshuò q?nwáng), commonly simplified to qinwang, translated as "Prince of the First Rank" or "Prince of the Blood". "Heshuo" ("ho?o") means "four corners, four sides" in Manchu.
    • Shizi (; Shìz?; ?idzi), meaning "heir son", refers to the heir apparent to a qinwang.
  • Duoluo junwang (?‍
    doro-i giy?n wang; ?; ?; du?luó jùnwáng), commonly simplified to junwang, translated as "Prince of the Second Rank" or "Prince of a Commandery".
    • Zhangzi (; ; zhángz?; jangdzi), meaning "eldest son" or "chief son", refers to the heir apparent to a junwang.
  • Duoluo beile (?‍
    doro-i beile; ?; ?; du?luó bèilè), means "lord", "prince" or "chief" in Manchu, commonly simplified to beile, and translated as "Prince of the Third Rank", "Venerable Prince", or "Noble Lord". "Duoluo" ("doro") means "virtue, courtesy, propriety" in Manchu. It was usually granted to the son of a qinwang or junwang. As beile is the best known Manchu, non-Chinese title, it is commonly used to refer to all Manchu princes.
  • Gushan beizi (?‍
    g?sa-i beise; ?; ?; gùsh?n bèiz?), commonly simplified to beizi, and translated as "Prince of the Fourth Rank", "Banner Prince" or "Banner Lord". "Gushan" ("g?sai") means "banner" in Manchu, a reference to any of the Eight Banners. "Beizi" ("beise") is the plural form of "beile", but since 1636, "beile" and "beizi" were used to refer to two different ranks of nobility.

The four ranks above were granted solely to direct male-line descendants of the Emperor. These titles below were granted to cadet lines of the imperial clan.

  • Feng'en zhenguo gong (?

    kesi-be tuwakiyara gurun-be dalire gung; ; ; fèng'?n zhènguó g?ng), translated as "Duke Who Receives Grace and Guards the State", simplified to "Duke Who Guards the State", also translated as "Defender Duke by Grace" or "Duke of the First Rank".
  • Feng'en fuguo gong (?

    kesi-be tuwakiyara gurun-de aisilara gung; ; ; fèng'?n f?guó g?ng), translated as "Duke Who Receives Grace and Assists the State", simplified to "Duke Who Assists the State", also translated as "Bulwark Duke by Grace" or "Duke of the Second Rank".

The above six ranks are titles that enjoy the "Eight Privileges". The titles below do not enjoy the "Eight Privileges" and have no imperial duties.

  • Burubafen zhenguo gong (

    jak?n ubu-de dosimbuhak? gurun-be dalire gung; ?; ?; bùrùb?f?n zhènguó g?ng), translated as "Duke Without the Eight Privileges Who Guards the State", also translated as "Lesser Defender Duke" or "Duke of the Third Rank".
  • Burubafen fuguo gong (

    jak?n ubu-de dosimbuhak? gurun-be aisilara gung; ?; ?; bùrùb?f?n f?guó g?ng), translated as "Duke Without the Eight Privileges Who Assists the State", also translated as "Lesser Bulwark Duke" or "Duke of the Fourth Rank".

All of the above titles are chaopin (; ch?op?n), outranking official ranks. The ranks below are ranked first to fourth pin respectively. The first three jiangjun ranks are each further subdivided into four classes: first class plus yunjiwei, first class, second class, and third class.

  • Zhenguo jiangjun (

    ; gurun be dalire janggin; ?; ?; zhènguó ji?ngj?n), translated as "General Who Guards the State", "Defender General", or "(Hereditary) General of the First Rank".
  • Fuguo jiangjun (

    ; gurun de aisilara janggin; ?; ?; f?guó ji?ngj?n), translated as "General Who Assists the State", "Bulwark General", or "(Hereditary) General of the Second Rank".
  • Fengguo jiangjun (
    ; gurun be tuwakiyara janggin; ?; ?; fèngguó ji?ngj?n), translated as "General Who Receives the State", "Supporter General", or "(Hereditary) General of the Third Rank".
  • Feng'en jiangjun (?
    ; kesi-be tuwakiyara janggin; ?; ?; fèng'?n ji?ngj?n), translated as "General Who Receives Grace", "General by Grace", or "(Hereditary) General of the Fourth Rank". This rank has no sub-classes. This title is not granted per se, but were given to heirs of fengguo jiangjuns.

Regardless of title and rank, an imperial prince was addressed as "A-ge" (; age; ; À-g?), which means "lord" or "commander" in Manchu.

Female members

The following titles were granted to female members of the imperial clan:

  • Gulun gongzhu (?; ?; gùlún g?ngzh?; gurun-i gungju), translated as "State Princess", "Gurun Princess" or "Princess of the First Rank". It was usually granted to a princess born to the Empress. "Gulun" means "all under Heaven" in Manchu.
  • Heshuo gongzhu (?; ?; héshuò g?ngzh?; ho?o-i gungju), translated as "Heshuo Princess" or "Princess of the Second Rank". It was usually granted to a princess born to a consort or concubine. "Heshuo" ("ho?o") means "four corners, four sides" in Manchu.
  • Junzhu (; jùnzh?; ho?o-i gege), translated as "Princess of a Commandery" or "Princess of the Third Rank". It was usually granted to the daughter of a qinwang. Also called heshuo gege (?) or qinwang gege (?), lit. "lady of a prince of the blood".
  • Xianzhu (; ; xiànzh?; doro-i gege), translated as "Princess of a County" or "Princess of the Fourth Rank". It was usually granted to the daughter of a junwang or shizi. Also called duolun gege (?) or junwang gege (?), lit. "lady of a prince of a commandery".
  • Junjun (; jùnj?n; beile-i jui doro-i gege), translated as "Lady of a Commandery" or "Lady of the First Rank". It was usually granted to a daughter born to a secondary consort of a qinwang or to the daughter of a beile. Also called duolun gege (?) or beile gege (?), lit. "lady of a prince (of the third rank)".
  • Xianjun (; ; xiànj?n; g?sa-i gege), translated as "Lady of a County" or "Lady of the Second Rank". It was usually granted to a daughter born to a secondary consort of a junwang or to the daughter of a beizi. Also called gushan gege (?), lit. "lady of a banner", or beizi gege (?), lit. "lady of a prince (of the fourth rank)".
  • Xiangjun (; ; xiãngj?n; gung-ni jui gege), translated as "Lady of a Village" or "Lady of the Third Rank". It was usually granted to the daughters of dukes with eight privileges. Also called gong gege (), lit. "lady of a duke".
  • Zongnü (; zõngn?), translated as "Clanswoman". This is not a granted title, but the honorific given to all daughters of dukes without eight privileges and jiangjuns, as well as all other untitled princesses. However,
    • Daughters born to a secondary consort of a beizi are called wupinfeng zongnü (), "clanswoman with stipend of the fifth pin".
    • Daughters born to a secondary consort of a feng'en zhenguo gong or feng'en fuguo gong are called liupinfeng zongnü (), "clanswoman with stipend of the sixth pin".

Princesses' consorts

Efu ( ; ; éfù), also known Fuma (; ; fùm?), translated as "Prince Consort". Its original meaning was "emperor's charioteer". It was usually granted to the spouse of a princess above the rank of zongnü. The efus were separated into seven ranks corresponding to the rank of the princesses the efu married. Efus who married gulun gongzhus and heshuo gongzhus held ranks equivalent to the beizis and dukes respectively. The remaining efus had equivalent official rank from the first to fifth pin.

An efu retained his title and privileges as long as the princess remained his primary spouse - even after her death. However, if an efu remarried or promoted a consort to be his primary spouse, he lost all rights obtained from his marriage to the princess.


At the beginning of the Qing dynasty, prior to the formalisation of the rank system, there were also non-standard titles used, such as:

  • Da beile (; ; dà bèilè; amba beile), translated as "Grand Beile", assumed by Dai?an during the tetrarchy, and by Huangtaiji prior to his ascension.
  • Zhang gongzhu (; ), translated as "Chief Princess", "Elder Princess" or "Princess Imperial", was granted to various daughters of Nurhaci and Huangtaiji.

Non-imperial nobility

Standard non-imperial titles

The following are the nine ranks of the peerage awarded for valour, achievement, distinction, other imperial favour, and to imperial consort clans.

  • Gong (?; g?ng; 'duke'; gung), often referred to as min gong (; mín g?ng; "commoner duke") to differentiate from the imperial guo gong. Translated as "Duke" or "Non-imperial Duke".
  • Hou (?; hóu; ho), translated as "Marquis" or "Marquess".
  • Bo (?; ; be), translated as "Count".

The above three ranks are chaopin (; ch?op?n), outranking official ranks. The four following ranks were all evolved from leadership ranks in the Manchu banner army, originally called ejen (; "lord" or "master" in Manchu) and later janggin (; "general" in Manchu).

  • Zi (?; z?; jinkini hafan), translated as "Viscount".
  • Nan (?; nán; ashan-i hafan), translated as "Baron".
  • Qingche duwei (?; ?; q?ngch? d?wèi; adaha hafan), translated as "Master Commandant of Light Chariot", roughly equivalent to a commander of a chivalric order.

All of the above ranks are sub-divided into four classes; in order: first class plus yunjiwei, first class, second class, and third class.

  • Jiduwei (; ; jíd?wèi; baitalabura hafan), translated as "Master Commandant of Cavalry", rough equivalent of an officer of a chivalric order. This rank is subdivided into two classes: jiduwei plus yunjiwei, and simply jiduwei.
  • Yunjiwei (; ; yúnjíwèi; tuwa?ara hafan), translated as "Knight Commandant of the Cloud", rough equivalent of a knight bachelor.
  • Enjiwei (; ; ?njíwèi; kesingge hafan), translated as "Knight Commandant by Grace", rough equivalent of an esquire. This title was not granted per se, but bestowed on the heirs of yunjiweis without the privilege of perpetual inheritance.

Pre-standard non-imperial titles

At the beginning of the Qing dynasty, during Nurhaci's and Huangtaiji's reigns, the noble ranks were not yet standardised. There were several titles created that did not fit into the above system, mostly for defectors from the Ming dynasty. These titles were similar to the titles used in the Ming dynasty, and lack the Manchu nomenclature and the noble rank system introduced later.

  • Qinwang, (; ; q?nwáng; cin wang), "Prince of the Blood", created for Wu Sangui and Shang Kexi.
  • Junwang (; jùnwáng; giy?n wang), "Prince of a Commandery", created for Fuhuan and Fukang'an.
  • Wang (?; wáng; wang), "Prince", created for Yangguli and several Ming defectors. The relation between wang and junwang is unclear: in both Ming and Qing traditions, single-character titular names were reserved for qinwangs, while junwangs received two-character titular names, but these wangs were created with both single and two-character titular names. Both Wu Sangui and Shang Kexi were promoted from wang to qinwang, but no wang was ever promoted to junwang or vice versa.
  • Beile (; ; bèilè; beile), "Lord", "Prince" or "Chief" in Manchu. It was the generic title of all Manchu lords during the Ming dynasty. Under the Qing dynasty, this title was generally reserved for imperials, but was retained by the princes of Yehe after their submission to Nurhaci.
  • Beizi (; ; bèiz?; beise). Normally reserved for imperials, it was uniquely created for Fukang'an, before he was further elevated to junwang.
  • Chaopin Gong (; ch?op?ng?ng; 'duke above ranks'), "High Duke", a unique rank created for Yangguli, before he was further elevated to wang. This title ranks just below beizi and above all other dukes.
  • Gong (?; g?ng; 'duke'; Gung; "Duke"), Hou (?; hóu; ho; "Marquess"), and Bo (?; ; be; "Count"), similar to the later standard titles, but created without subclasses (; bùyándeng).

Additionally, there were banner offices that later evolved into hereditary noble titles. Despite being used as noble titles, these offices continued to exist and function in the banner hierarchy. To distinguish the noble titles from the offices, they were sometimes called "hereditary office" (; ; shì zhí) or "hereditary rank" (; shì jué).

  • G?sa ejen (?; ?; gùsh?n é'zh?n), meaning "master of a banner", later Sinicised to become dutong (; d?t?ng), meaning "colonel";
    • Evolved into zongbing (; ; z?ngb?ng), meaning "chief commander";
    • Then into amba janggin (?/?; ángb?ng zh?ngj?ng/ànb?n zh?ngj?ng), meaning "grand general";
    • Then into jinkini hafan (; j?ngqíní h?f?n), meaning "prime officer";
    • Which was finally Sinicised to become zi (?; z?), meaning "viscount".
  • Meiren-i ejen (?/?; ?/?; méilè é'zh?n/m?ilíng é'zh?n), meaning "vice master", Sinicised to become fu dutong (; fù d?t?ng), meaning "vice colonel";
    • Evolved into fujiang (; ; fùjiàng), meaning "vice general";
    • Then into meiren-i janggin (?; méilè zh?ngj?ng), meaning "vice general";
    • Then into ashan-i hafan (; ?'s?ní h?f?n), meaning "vice officer";
    • Which was finally Sinicised to become nan (?; nán), meaning "baron".
  • Jalan ejen (?; ?; ji?l? é'zh?n), meaning "master of a sub-banner", Sinicised to become canling (; ; c?nl?ng), meaning "staff captain";
    • Evolved into canjiang (; ; c?njiàng), meaning "staff general", or youji (; ; yóuj?), meaning "vanguard" or "skirmish leader";
    • Then into jalan janggin (?; ?; zh?lán zh?ngj?ng), meaning "general of a sub-banner";
    • Then into adaha hafan (; ; ?'dáh? h?f?n), meaning "chariot officer";
    • Which was finally Sinicised to become qingche duwei (?; ?; q?ngch? d?weì), meaning "master commandant of light chariot".
  • Niru ejen (?; ?; niúlù é'zh?n), meaning "master of an arrow" (an "arrow" was a basic unit of a banner army), later Sinicised to become zuoling (; ; zuól?ng), meaning "assistant captain";
    • Evolved into beiyu (; ; bèiyù), meaning "rearguard";
    • Then into niru janggin (?; ?; niúlù zh?ngj?ng), meaning "general of an arrow";
    • Then into baitalabura hafan (?; bàit?l?bùlè h?f?n), meaning "adjutant officer";
    • Which was finally Sinicised to become ji duwei (; ; jì d?weì), meaning "master commandant of cavalry".

Notable titles

  • Duke Yansheng (; ; Y?nshèng G?ng; "Duke Overflowing with Sagacity), granted to the heirs of the senior northern branch of Confucius in Qufu.
  • Duke Haicheng (; H?ichéng G?ng; "Duke East of the Sea"), granted to Ming loyalist Zheng Keshuang, the once independent king of the Taiwan-based Kingdom of Tungning who surrendered to the Qing Empire in 1683, and his heirs.
  • Count Zhongcheng (; Zh?ngchéng Bó; "Count of Loyalty and Sincerity"), granted to Feng Xifan, a former Ming loyalist official in the Kingdom of Tungning.
  • Marquis Jinghai (; Jìngh?i Hóu; "Marquis Pacifying the Sea"), granted to Shi Lang and his heirs.[1]
  • Hereditary Magistrate of Guogan County (; ; shìxí Guóg?n xiànlìng), granted to Ming loyalist Yang Guohua (), the ruler of the Kokang region in present-day Myanmar.
  • Marquis Yan'en (; Yán'?n Hóu; "Marquis of Extended Grace"), granted to the heads of a cadet branch of the House of Zhu, the imperial clan of the Ming dynasty.[1]
  • Count Zhaoxin (; Zh?oxìn Bó), granted to Li Shiyao (), a descendant of Li Yongfang ().[2][3]
  • First Class Marquis Yiyong (; Y?d?ng Yìy?ng Hóu), granted to Zeng Guofan and his descendants.
  • Second Class Marquis Kejing (; Èrd?ng Kèjìng Hóu), granted to Zuo Zongtang and his descendants.
  • First Class Marquis Suyi (; Y?d?ng Sùyì Hòu), granted to Li Hongzhang and his descendants.

Civil and honorary titles

With a few exceptions, the above titles were, in principle, created for only military merits. There were also titles for civil officials.

While there were a few Manchu civil titles, the most important civil titles followed the Han Chinese Confucian tradition, derived from high bureaucratic offices or imperial household offices that evolved into honorary sinecures. These were sometimes granted as special privileges, but also often as a practical means of conferring official rank promotion without giving specific responsibilities. Examples of such titles were taibao (; "Grand Protector"), shaoshi (; "Junior Preceptor"), taizi taifu (?; "Grand Tutor of the Crown Prince"), and daifu (; "Gentleman"). These titles were non-heritable.

In addition, there were also honorary and hereditary titles granted to religious and cultural leaders, such as:

Ranks of protectorates and tributary states

The Qing imperial court also granted titles to princes of its protectorates and tributary states, mainly in Mongolia, Xinjiang and Tibet. The vassal titles were generally inherited in perpetuity without downgrading.

The ranks roughly mirrored those of the imperial clan, with a few differences:

  • Han (?; hàn; 'Khan'; han), ranked higher than qinwang, and ranked only below the Emperor and the Crown Prince in the Qing hierarchy. Sometimes also called hanwang (; hánwáng; "Khan-King"). The Emperor also used the title of dahan (; dàhán; "Great Khan") instead of Emperor in communiqués to the Central Asian states.
  • Vassal princes who did not have the "Eight Privileges". There were no distinctions between dukes with or without the "Eight Privileges". There were only two ducal ranks: zhenguo gong and fuguo gong.
  • Instead of the jiangjun ranks, the vassal lords held these titles:
    • Taiji (; ; táijí; tayiji), for members of the Borjigin clan.
    • Tabunang (; t?bùnáng; tabunang), for descendants of Jelme.

The taiji and tabunang are equal in rank, and both subdivided into five classes: jasagh, first class, second class, third class, and fourth class. Jasagh is chaopin, above official ranks, while the rest were equivalent to the first to fourth pin.

Under the tusi system, the Qing Empire also recognised various local tribal chieftainships of ethnic minority tribes. This was mainly applied in the mountain regions of Yunnan, but also in western and northern borderlands.

The Qing Empire had two vassals in Xinjiang, the Kumul Khanate and the Turfan Khanate.

Other honours and privileges

In addition to systematised rank titles listed above, there were also other honorific titles and privileges, mostly non-heritable:

  • There were various Mongol/Manchu/Turkic titles, granted mainly to non-Han vassals and officials. Bitesi, baksi, jarguci were civil honours, while baturu, daicing, cuhur were military honours. Jasagh was granted to vassals with autonomous power, while darhan was a hereditary title divided into three classes. These titles were mostly awarded to Manchus and Mongols in the early Qing dynasty, but gradually fell out of use as the court became increasingly Sinicised.
  • The privilege of wearing feathers on the mandarin hat; this privilege was known as lingyu (; língy?):
    • Peacock feathers (; hu?líng) were usually worn by imperial princes, prince consorts, imperial bodyguards and some high-ranking officials. Exceptionally, peacock feathers may be granted as a special honour. Two-eyed and three-eyed feathers were very rarely bestowed - only seven peers ever received the three-eyed feathers, while two dozens received the two-eyed feathers.
    • Blue feathers (; ; lánlíng) were usually worn by household officials of the imperial and princely houses. Like peacock feathers, blue feathers may be granted as a special honour, usually to officials of the sixth pin and below.
    • Although a badge of honour, the feathers also symbolised bond servitude to the Emperor. As such, direct imperial clansmen and imperial princes ranked beile and above were prohibited from wearing feathers.
  • The privilege of wearing the yellow jacket (; ; w?g?ng huángm? guàz?; "yellow jacket of martial merit"). This is usually the uniform of imperial bodyguards, but it could also be bestowed upon anyone by the Emperor. A rare honour in the early Qing dynasty, it was diluted through excessive grants in the late Qing era. The jacket may only be worn in the Emperor's presence.
  • The privilege of wearing imperial girdles (to both the recipient and his issue):
    • The yellow girdles (; ; huángdàizi) were normally reserved for direct imperial clansmen (; z?ngshì), but may be granted to collateral imperial clansmen, known as gioro (; ; juéluó) as an honour. The yellow girdle entitled the wearer to be tried by the Imperial Clan Court as opposed to the general or banner courts.
    • The red girdles (; ; hóngdàizi) were normally reserved for collateral imperial clansmen, or gioro, as well as demoted direct imperial clansmen. Non-imperials may be granted the Gioro surname and be adopted into the imperial clan, thus the privilege of wearing the red girdle.
    • The purple girdles (; z?dàizi) were normally reserved for demoted gioro. Uniquely, the family of Dahai, the "saint of Manchu" and the inventor of the Manchu script, was granted the privilege of wearing purple girdles, to symbolise his family as the "second clan of Manchu (inferior only to the Aisin-Gioro)".
  • Enshrinement in the Imperial Ancestral Temple (?; ?; pèixi?ng tàimiào). Granted to deceased peers (and sometimes also their wives), therefore a privilege for all his descendants. They were worshipped alongside the imperial ancestors, and their descendants had the privilege of sending representatives to participate in the imperial ancestral rituals. Imperial and Mongol princes were housed in the east wing of the temple, while the others were housed in the west wing. This was an extremely high honour, granted only 27 times throughout the Qing dynasty. Zhang Tingyu was the only Han subject to ever receive this honour, while Heling was the only person to have this honour revoked.
  • Bestowal of Manchu, noble or imperial surnames (; ; cìxìng). Occasionally, a non-Manchu subject would be granted a Manchu surname, or a Manchu would be granted a more prestigious surname, or even the imperial surname "Gioro", thus adopting into the imperial clan.
  • Promotion within the banner hierarchy:
    • A non-bannerman can be inducted into the banner system.
    • A Han bannerman (?; ?; Hànj?n b?qí; nikan g?sa) may be elevated into a Manchu banner (?; ?; M?nzh?u b?qí; manju g?sa).
    • A bannerman from the lower banners (plain red, bordered red, bordered white, plain blue, and bordered blue banners) can be elevated into the upper banners (plain yellow, bordered yellow, and plain white) (; táiqí). This was especially common for the imperial consorts and their clansmen.
  • Court beads (; cháozh?). The court beads were part of the court uniform; the length of the beads normally corresponded to the courtier's pin. When a courtier kowtowed, the beads must touch the ground. Longer court beads were granted as a special favour regardless of the courtier's pin. This was often granted to elderly courtiers to relieve them of the physical hardship of kowtowing.

Etymology of Manchu titles

With a few exception, most Manchu titles ultimately derived from Han Chinese roots.

  • Han, used by the Emperor himself and a few Mongol lords, was borrowed from the Turko-Mongol Khan, Khaan or Khagan. In Manchu, however, the word is written slightly differently for the Emperor and other Khans.
  • Beile was usually considered indigenous Manchu titles, evolved from earlier Jurchen bojile, which may ultimately be derived from the Turkic title bey or beg or even Chinese bo (?, "count").
  • Beise was originally the plural form of beile, but later evolved into a separate title.
  • Janggin derived from the Chinese military title jiangjun (, "general"). In Manchu, however, janggin evolved into a nominal title distinct from the military office, which is translated in Manchu as jiyanggiy?n.
  • Taiji or tayiji derived from Chinese taizi (, "crown prince"). In Chinese, it was used exclusively by heirs of imperial, royal or princely titles. In Mongolia, however, the Borjigits have long used it as a distinct title.
  • Tabunang ("son-in-law") was originally the title given to a Mongol prince consort who married a Borjigit princess. It was granted to Jelme, and his descendants continued to use this title.
  • Fujin () is a consort of a prince ranked junwang or above. This word evolved from Chinese furen (; "lady", "madame" or "wife"), but was reserved for high-ranked ladies. Furen was used by lower-ranked married ladies.
  • A-ge () is a Manchu word meaning both "lord, chief" and "elder brother". It is derived from the Mongolic word aka, and cognate with the Turkic word agha.

See also


  1. ^ a b c H. S. Brunnert; V. V. Hagelstrom (2013). Present Day Political Organization of China. Routledge. p. 494. ISBN 978-1-135-79795-9.
  2. ^ Fang, Chao-ying. "Li Shih-yao". Dartmouth College. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ [Liu, Bingguang] (May 25, 2016). " [What happened to Li Yongfang, the first Ming general to surrender to the Qing dynasty?]". [Liu Bingguang's blog] (in Chinese). Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Thomas A. Wilson (2002). On Sacred Grounds: Culture, Society, Politics, and the Formation of the Cult of Confucius. Harvard University Asia Center. pp. 69, 315. ISBN 978-0-674-00961-5.
  5. ^ Thomas Jansen; Thoralf Klein; Christian Meyer (2014). Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China: Transnational Religions, Local Agents, and the Study of Religion, 1800-Present. BRILL. p. 188. ISBN 978-90-04-27151-7.
  6. ^ Xinzhong Yao (2015). The Encyclopedia of Confucianism: 2-volume Set. Routledge. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-317-79349-6.
  7. ^ Mark P. McNicholas (2016). Forgery and Impersonation in Imperial China: Popular Deceptions and the High Qing State. University of Washington Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-295-80623-5.
  8. ^ Forgery and Impersonation in Late Imperial China: Popular Appropriations of Official Authority, 1700-1820. ProQuest. 2007. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-549-52893-7.
  9. ^ Xinzhong Yao (2003). RoutledgeCurzon Encyclopedia of Confucianism. RoutledgeCurzon. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-415-30652-2.
  10. ^ H. S. Brunnert; V. V. Hagelstrom (2013). Present Day Political Organization of China. Routledge. pp. 493-494. ISBN 978-1-135-79795-9.
  11. ^ () (Official Code of the Great Qing) (Jiaqing Era) (in Chinese). 1818. p. 1084.
  12. ^ (Shuoxuehan) (2015). (New Qing History) (in Chinese). GGKEY:ZFQWEX019E4.
  13. ^ (Wang, Shizhen) (2014). ? (Chi Bei Ou Tan) (in Chinese). GGKEY:ESB6TEXXDCT.
  14. ^ (Xu, Xilin); (Qian, Yong) (2014). ? (Xi Chao Xin Yu) (in Chinese). GGKEY:J62ZFNAA1NF.
  15. ^ Chang Woei Ong (2008). Men of Letters Within the Passes: Guanzhong Literati in Chinese History, 907-1911. Harvard University Asia Center. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-674-03170-8.

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