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Mandarin square

Name for a large, square, embroidered rank badge for civilian officials, such as scholars, during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, that was sewn visibly on the front of their coats and in which their ranks were represented by specific birds, i.e. the badge was embroidered with a certain bird, that symbolized and indicated the rank of the official wearing it (fig.). The ranks were represented by ‒in descending order‒ the crane (fig.), golden pheasant, peacock, wild goose, silver pheasant, egret, mandarin duck, quail, and the paradise flycatcher. In the Emperor's Army, a similar system existed, in which the ranks of military officers were represented by animals. In the Imperial Army, the ranks were represented by ‒also in descending order‒ the kilen, lion, tiger, leopard, bear, panther, rhinoceros, and sea horse. Besides these, the dragon was used as the symbol for generals, whilst the five-clawed dragon was reserved for the Emperor (fig.). In Chinese, the Mandarin square is known as bu zi (补子). Compare with the Burmese salwe.