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Mandarin's Hat Finial (3rd Rank)

ca. 1800-1912

A Qing dynasty Mandarin official’s hat finial/button of clear blue Peking glass oval set in a filigree mount with floral designs.

Often referred to as 'mandarin buttons' in the West, hat finials like this were used by Qing dynasty officials and the nobility to distinguish the ruling elite and government from the general population. The colour and shape of the final depended on the wearer’s rank. The translucent blue colour and oval shape of this final signal that the owner was a member of the third (3rd) rank (third highest rank).

Originally the finials used precious stones like rubies and sapphires but regulations in 1730 allowed for the use of coloured glass as a substitute instead. A highly prized material at the time.

It is possible that object information will be updated as new research findings are discovered. Please email if you can improve this record.

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