Keeper of the Robes

The "Keeper of the Robes" was one of the six offices instituted by the Ch'in Dynasty (255-209 b.c.), the other five were those of the "Imperial Head-dresses," "Food-stuffs," "Washing Utensils," "Sitting Mats," and "Writing Materials." Robes were, and are, made from the skins of the various eider-ducks found in Northern Asia. The king eider's head is blue; the Pacific eider's, black and green; while the spectacled eider has a white line round the eye, which accounts for its name. The feathers are so close and soft that garments made of them feel exactly like fine fur.