Men who passed grueling exams governed an empire.

For roughly 1,300 years, China’s emperors used the civil service examination system to identify talented men for government service. Stationed throughout the empire, scholar-officials maintained order and reported on local events. This system was so effective, even foreign dynasties like the Manchus embraced it.

  1. 5Basket

  2. 6, 7Kui Xing figure & jade carving

  3. 8Cheat’s handkerchief

  4. 1Official’s hat

  5. 2Rank badge

  6. 3, 4Court necklace & ruyi scepter