Mandarin jacket helped cheaters in Ming Dynasty

16:47, November 17, 2010      

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A mandarin jacket designed to help cheat in exams is presented by a collector in Laizhou, East China's Shandong province, Nov 16, 2010. [Photo/Shandong Business Daily]

From a distance it is just a ropey-looking mandarin jacket, even on close inspection few would suspect it is really a specially designed overcoat for cheating during imperial exams, the highest-level exam presided over by the emperor, in the Ming Dynasty (1369-1644 AD).

"It caught my eyes once I saw it at Mr. Ren's," said Mr. Song, the current owner of the jacket. "There are about 50,000 Chinese characters written on both sides, and the content is about 'The Four Books and Five Classics' (a series of Chinese classical works)."

A 50-cent coin placed on the jacket shows eight characters huddled within the 1.5-centimeter diameter.

"He even annotated in the context with much ado," Mr Song added.

"Generally it takes three or four years to complete this," a staff member with the city's museum told the journalist. "It is also the first time we find clothes used for exam cheating."

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