Mourning in Late Imperial China: Filial Piety and the State

Overview

The new Manchu rulers of Qing Dynasty China (1644-1912), as the conquering regime, desperately needed to legitimize their rule. To win the approval of China's native elites, they developed an ambitious plan to return Confucianism to civil society. Filial piety, the core Confucian value, would once again be upheld by the state, and officials throughout the empire would observe the laborious and time-consuming mourning rituals that were the touchstone of a well-ordered Confucian society. In this way, the emperor ...
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Overview

The new Manchu rulers of Qing Dynasty China (1644-1912), as the conquering regime, desperately needed to legitimize their rule. To win the approval of China's native elites, they developed an ambitious plan to return Confucianism to civil society. Filial piety, the core Confucian value, would once again be upheld by the state, and officials throughout the empire would observe the laborious and time-consuming mourning rituals that were the touchstone of a well-ordered Confucian society. In this way, the emperor would be following the ancient dictate that he "govern all under heaven with filial piety." Norman Kutcher's pioneering study of mourning in late Imperial China 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, rather than reinvigorated, the Confucian mourning system. This book will interest not only those concerned with late Imperial China, but anyone seeking to understand the role of ritual and filial piety in Chinese society.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgments
A note on conventions
Reigns of Ming and Qing emperors
Introduction 1
1 Death and the state in imperial China: continuities 11
2 The reorientation of Ming attitudes toward mourning 35
3 The early Qing transformation of mourning practice 73
4 The bureaucratization of the Confucian li 120
5 The death of Xiaoxian and the crisis of Qianlong rule 153
6 Death and Chinese society 190
Select bibliography 195
Index 205
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