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Ejen (Manchu: ᡝᠵᡝᠨ; Chinese: 額真 or 主) is a Manchu word literally meaning "lord" or "master".[1][2] It was used during the Qing dynasty of China to refer to leaders or officials of the Eight Banners or the Emperors of the Qing dynasty as the supreme leaders of the Eight Banners system.[3][4]


The term can be traced back to the Later Jin dynasty before 1636. At this time, ejen was a borrowed word from Mongolian, meaning "lord" or "master". During the Later Jin dynasty the objects referred to by the term ejen in Manchu were originally diverse. For example, after the establishment of the Eight Banners system in the early 17th century, the term was used in the official names of the Eight Banners, such as Gūsa ejen, Meiren-i ejen, Jalan ejen, and Niru ejen. At this time Jurchens (later became known as the Manchus) commonly used Khan to refer to the sovereign, and ejen was rarely used in this sense. Even when it was used with this meaning, it appeared in general expressions such as gurun i/de ejen ("lord of/in the country"), and it was also used to the refer to the Mongol khans and the Emperor of the Ming dynasty. But by 1634, the term ejen in the official names of the Eight Banners mentioned above, except for the highest-level Gūsa ejen, was changed to janggin (meaning "general"), such as Meiren-i janggin, Jalan janggin, and Niru janggin. After the Ming-Qing transition, ejen began to become a title for the emperor of the Qing dynasty who was the supreme leader of the Eight Banners system, along with titles like the Son of Heaven and Huangdi. The word was often used by Bannermen officials to refer to the emperor of the Qing dynasty during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, and by this time it was rarely used as a common noun to refer to the "master" of various groups.[5] Since the relationship between Bannermen officials and the Emperors was comparable to that between "master and servant" in a household, Bannermen officials often used the term Booi Aha or Nucai (meaning "servant") for self-address at court when addressing the Emperor.[6]


See also


  1. ^ Cosmo, Nicola (2021). Manchu-Mongol Relations on the Eve of the Qing Conquest. p. 187.
  2. ^ "The Qing Empire: Three Governments in One State and the Stability of Manchu Rule". Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  3. ^ Crossley, Pamela (2021). Orphan Warriors: Three Manchu Generations and the End of the Qing World. Princeton University Press. p. 50.
  4. ^ Gorelova, Liliya (2002). Manchu Grammar: Part 8. Brill. p. 229.
  5. ^ "滿文中用以指代清朝皇帝的兩個詞:han(汗)、ejen(厄真)". Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  6. ^ Eltis, David (2011). The Cambridge World History of Slavery: Volume 3, AD 1420-AD 1804. p. 204.