Book Illustration "Buying Official Titles" of the Late Ming Period
This is an illustration from a book "Illustrated Suggestions to the Emperor" written by Chang, Jiu Zhen (died in the 10th year of Wan Li, i.e.,1582) who had been the teacher of the Emperor Wan Li and the premier of the empire. In the book, Chang severely criticized the inferiority of the political environments of the late Ming Dynasty. The illustration ironically displays a transaction of official titles taking place in front of the Emperor Wan Li. At the lower right corner of the illustration, some people are receiving and weighing sycee donated from the rich individuals who wished to "buy" official titles, giving them the right to wear the uniforms of officials which signifies their titles. All of this was witnessed by the Emperor Wan Li sitting in the imperial hall.
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