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Hats and Rank

The headpiece pictured here is the summer style worn traditionally by the Mandarin class in China. When China was an empire one the most important political posts in the land, equivalent to that of a cabinet rank in the United States, was the Minister or Rites and Ceremonies. This office, under the direct supervision of the emperor, was the supreme arbiter of the shape, color and material of all hats worn by every class and rank. Each rank was clearly identified by special garments and hats. The chief characteristic of the hat here is the large, red tassel that descends around the crown practically covering the hat. This appendage is made of crimson silk and, as elsewhere in the world, the shaking tassel was intended to frighten away the evil spirits.

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