The Chinese Emperor
, the Son of Heaven
was always accompanied by a huge retinue
everywhere he goes. Even inside the Forbidden Palace
was dauntingly large, once the Emperor
leaves his home (a rare thing, happens about twice a year probably), the huge line can stretch for up to a mile
. It is part of the pomp
that goes with the Mandate of Heaven
, whoever has the favor of heaven
supposedly deserves this kind of luxury
. Even kiddie emperors
such as Kang Xi
and Pu Yi
Here's a brief description of the Emperor's Retinue, the short version. The number of people multiply once they leave the Forbidden City.
- At the head is an eunuch that acts like a horn. He would say, "Qu qu" to tell people to bow or go away. Sometimes there are two or three of them.
- A couple of "road openers". They would walk sideways to make sure people are not too close to the Emperor.
- The Emperor, either seated in a plush sedan chair carried by anything from 2 to 50 eunuchs, depending on the formality, or walking along, supported by a couple of junior eunuchs.
- Some servants and the runners to attend to the Emperor's sligtest whim. Once an order is given, a runner would run backwards in the procession to inform of the emperor's needs, then the whole procession would stop while the required objects are delivered to the emperor.
- A portable closet, with several changes of clothing.
- A fully adorned toilet
- About a month's supply of food. Anything from light snacks to full-blown banquets is carried along on steamers. Of course, there are cooks to prepare the food if the Emperor so desires.
- A medicine cabinet, with lots of wacky herbs and potions.
This whole line would proceed in perfect order
, like a military parade
. It must have been be an impressive sight to see.