yes you are right in saying that official titles could be bought in the qing dynasty but that was after the opium war of 1842 when the qing dynasty had lsot to the western powers and had to pay an indemnity war debt to the western powers leading to an out flow of silver out of the country,therefore the qing dynasty court being in dire straits had decided to sell the titles of civil grade ,even then there was a ceiling of how high (ping)the title the merchants could purchase the grade, therefore not surprisng that there were businessmen who had made good and had decided to purchase a grade 7 civil title even though they had no education.
As for the shunzhi period, it was through merit in civil or through hereditary succession in military system.
only one exception whiuch the qing dyansty had allowed was the gung shen or ming shen were people who had made grain contributions to the state and were given the imperial colleg studen status ,this was a lower notch/echelon compared to tai xue shen or jian shen who had acheived thir staus through merit , the other form would be the protection of the father to the son which allows the son to enter th euniveristy (tai xue) without sitting for examinations, other than these anomalies; exceptions, there was no sale of titles (civil or military)
With regards to fmaily generation poem, i beleive it is to identify family clan members throught the generation charcter and to know one's status and how one should ne address , as in a younger memeber addressing an elder,as you know the clan memebers(progeny) were engendered by a commn primogenitor ,
usually this primogenitor would a person of respectable high standing for example th eliterati or government official who had the clout to command the clan members to adopt the generation poem,usually it would be a council of elders in the village, the leader being a retired official or scholar who would preside in the clan temple to discuss the naming generation system, the council would usually compose and compile a generation poem based on the clan;s standing esteem and status
and how the clan is viewed by society, therefore they would composed a poem a pair of dui lian proses which rhymes,and also to convey the honor and prestige of the clan or ancestor to the descendents to keep up the family prestige and to continue the good name
and as you know a generation poem and its meaning and context ,significance, belonging to the nobility, royalty and gentry is styled differently from a generation poem of a merchant family or farming ,artisan family and the descendets will understand what the poem is insinuating.
well as you know the upper classes will want to differentiate from the commoners even in prose writing an to remind themsevles of their high status in scoeity origins,and noble family generation will talk about maintaing prestige and to contiune the glory and respect of the clan,this what you called an ode or (sung shi)
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