Online Encyclopedia

MANDARIN

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 559 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MANDARIN, the common name for all public officials in China, the Chinese name for whom is kwan or kwon. The word comes through the Portuguese from Malay mantri, a counsellor or minister of state. The ultimate origin of this word is the Sanskrit root man-, meaning to " think," seen in " man," " mind," &c. The term " mandarin " is not, in its western usage, applied indiscriminately to all civil and military officials, but only to those who are entitled to wear a " button," which is a spherical knob, about an inch in diameter, affixed to the top of the official cap or hat. These officials, civil and military alike, are divided into nine grades or classes, each grade being distinguished by a button of a particular colour. The grade to which an official belongs is not necessarily related to the office he holds. The button which distinguishes the first grade is a transparent red stone; the second grade, a red coral button; the third, a sapphire; the fourth, a blue opaque stone; the fifth, a crystal button; the sixth, an opaque white shell button; the seventh, a plain gold button; the eighth, a worked gold button; and the ninth, a worked silver button. The mandarins also wear certain insignia embroidered on their official robes, and have girdle clasps of different material. The first grade have, for civilians an embroidered Manchurian crane on the breast and back, for the military an embroidered unicorn with a girdle clasp of jade set in rubies. The second grade, for civilians an embroidered golden pheasant, for the military a lion with a girdle principal industries are the raising of Indian corn and sugar-cane and the manufacture of salt from sea-water. Cebu-Visayan is the language.
End of Article: MANDARIN
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