To win the approval of China's native elites, Qing China's new Manchu leaders developed an ambitious plan to return Confucianism to civil society by observing laborious and time-consuming mourning rituals, the touchstones of a well-ordered Confucian society. The first to do so in any language, Norman Kutcher's study of mourning looks beneath the rhetoric to demonstrate how the state--unwilling to make the sacrifices that a genuine commitment to proper mourning demanded--quietly but forcefully undermined, not reinvigorated, the Confucian mourning system.
"Noman Kutcher has written an engaging and provocative book about personal and political aspects of mouring in seventeenth and eighteenth- century China...This book should be read by all who are interestes in late imperial culture and politics." Amer His Rev
List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; A note on conventions; Reigns of Ming and Qing emperors; Introduction; 1. Death and the state in imperial China: continuities; 2. The reorientation of Ming attitudes toward mourning; 3. The early Qing transformation of mourning practice; 4. The bureaucratization of the Confucian li; 5. The death of Xiaoxian and the crisis of Qianlong rule; 6. Death and Chinese society; Select bibliography; Index.