illustrated landscape with a bird, building, and statue

Mandarin Square Patterns and their Associated Ranks

Patterns and Rank icon

The Hsieh-Chai was a mythical animal able to distinguish between right and wrong. The Pai-tse and the Oriole were dropped by the Qing dynasty after the year 1652. The Pai-tse was later replaced by dragons, which the Manchus preferred. The Oriole was removed from the list because it was considered unnecessary, and unclassed officials started sharing insignia with the ninth rank. The Oriole was later reinstated after the year 1766 for Peking musisians.

Higher ranked officials could wear either two birds or two animals or both on their mandarin sqaures, but lower ranked officials could only wear one bird or animal, unless the Emperor granted them the right to wear another.

Patterns and Rank

Patterns and their corresponding rankings in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Rank Ming Dynasty Qing Dynasty
*These regions indicate areas of pattern divergence between Ming and Qing Dynasty mandarin squares.
Dukes, Marquises, Emperor's sons-in-law *Ch'i-lin and Pai-tse *Ch'i-lin and Dragons
Civil officials: 1st and 2nd rank White Crane or the Golden Pheasant White Crane or the Golden Pheasant
Civil: 3rd and 4th rank Peacock or Wild Goose Peacock or Wild Goose
Civil: 5th rank Silver Pheasant Silver Pheasant
Civil: 6th and 7th rank Egret or Mandarin Duck Egret or Mandarin Duck
Civil: 8th and 9th rank, and unclassed officials *Oriole, Quail, or Paradise Flycatcher *Quail, or Paradise Flycatcher
Judges and Censorate officers Hsieh-Chai Hsieh-Chai
Military officers: 1st and 2nd rank Lion Lion
Military: 3rd and 4th rank Tiger and Leopard Tiger and Leopard
Military: 5th rank Bear Bear
Military: 6th and 7th rank Panther Panther
Military: 8th and 9th rank Rhinoceros or Sea Horse Rhinoceros or Sea Horse