Chinese Jinyiwei Guard

  • Medieval Asia
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

The Chinese Jinyiwei Guard were better known as ‘’The Embroidered Guard’’ – and were formed by The Ming Emperors in 1368 AD. Their name came from their distinctive and finely embroidered cloth Tunics that each Guardsman wore. Additionally, The Guard color was specific at a bright yellow or golden. The Guard also carried a specialized Jian Sword (likewise only manufactured and carried by The Jinyiwei). In addition, The Jinyiwei wore a polished ivory (sometimes bone) ‘’Badge’’ on their Tunics as a form of identifying them as Guardsmen. This was among the first examples of a Law Enforcement-type of Badge.

The mission of The Guard was to serve as The Emperor’s ‘’Secret Police’’ Force. In times of War, The Guard served as Military Envoys – tasked with delivering Terms or negotiating Peace. They had broad powers in this regard and spoke with the full authority of The Emperor. In Peace, The Jinyiwei were utterly ruthless with regards to their power. They could arrest anyone they wished, if they felt that the Subject was a threat to their Liege. Not only could they arrest and punish (including death), the commoner –  they could also extend this authority to any Nobleperson and even The Imperial Family. Their loyalty was without question.

As The Ming Dynasty descended into widespread corruption – so too did The Jinyiwei. Although well paid, they began to impose harsh penalties against Noblemen as a way of increasing their fortunes. This behavior went roughly unchecked. Existing for nearly 250 years, The Jinyiwei were disbanded with the fall of The Mings around 1644 AD.