The Ming Prince and Daoism

The Ming Prince and Daoism

The Ming Prince and Daoism

Scholars of Daoism in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) have paid particular attention to the interaction between the court and certain Daoist priests and to the political results of such interaction; the focus has been on either emperors or Daoist masters. Yet in the Ming era, a special group of people patronized Daoism and Daoist establishments: these were the members of the imperial clan, who were enfeoffed as princes. By illuminating the role the Ming princes played in local religion, Richard G. Wang demonstrates in The Ming Prince and Daoism that the princedom served to mediate between official religious policy and the commoners' interests. In addition to personal belief and self-cultivation, a prince had other reasons to patronize Daoism. As the regional overlords, the Ming princes, like other local elites, saw financing and organizing temple affairs and rituals, patronizing Daoist priests, or collecting and producing Daoist books as a chance to maintain their influence and show off their power. The prosperity of Daoist institutions, which attracted many worshippers, also demonstrated the princes' political success. Locally, the Ming princes played an important cultural role as well by promoting the development of local religions. This book is the first to explore the interaction between Ming princes as religious patrons and local Daoism. Barred by imperial law from any serious political or military engagement, the Ming princes were ex officio managers of state rituals at the local level, with Daoist priests as key performers. Moreover, institutionally, most regular ceremonies related to a prince's life were mandated to be conducted by Daoist musician-dancers, and that as a result the princely courtly rites were characterized by a Daoist flavor. For this reason the princes became very closely involved in Daoist clerical and liturgical life.

The Ming Prince and Daoism

The Ming Prince and Daoism

The Ming Prince and Daoism

Scholars of Daoism in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) have paid particular attention to the interaction between the court and certain Daoist priests and to the political results of such interaction; the focus has been on either emperors or Daoist masters. Yet in the Ming era, a special group of people patronized Daoism and Daoist establishments: these were the members of the imperial clan, who were enfeoffed as princes. By illuminating the role the Ming princes played in local religion, Richard G. Wang demonstrates in The Ming Prince and Daoism that the princedom served to mediate between official religious policy and the commoners' interests. In addition to personal belief and self-cultivation, a prince had other reasons to patronize Daoism. As the regional overlords, the Ming princes, like other local elites, saw financing and organizing temple affairs and rituals, patronizing Daoist priests, or collecting and producing Daoist books as a chance to maintain their influence and show off their power. The prosperity of Daoist institutions, which attracted many worshippers, also demonstrated the princes' political success. Locally, the Ming princes played an important cultural role as well by promoting the development of local religions. This book is the first to explore the interaction between Ming princes as religious patrons and local Daoism. Barred by imperial law from any serious political or military engagement, the Ming princes were ex officio managers of state rituals at the local level, with Daoist priests as key performers. Moreover, institutionally, most regular ceremonies related to a prince's life were mandated to be conducted by Daoist musician-dancers, and that as a result the princely courtly rites were characterized by a Daoist flavor. For this reason the princes became very closely involved in Daoist clerical and liturgical life.

Dynastic Identity in Early Modern Europe

Dynastic Identity in Early Modern Europe

Dynastic Identity in Early Modern Europe

Aristocratic dynasties have long been regarded as fundamental to the development of early modern society and government. Yet recent work by political historians has increasingly questioned the dominant role of ruling families in state formation, underlining instead the continued importance and independence of individuals. In order to take a fresh look at the subject, this volume provides a broad discussion on the formation of dynastic identities in relationship to the lineage’s own history, other families within the social elite, and the ruling dynasty. Individual chapters consider the dynastic identity of a wide range of European aristocratic families including the CroÃs, Arenbergs and Nassaus from the Netherlands; the Guises-Lorraine of France; the Sandoval-Lerma in Spain; the Farnese in Italy; together with other lineages from Ireland, Sweden and the Austrian Habsburg monarchy. Tied in with this broad international focus, the volume addressed a variety of related themes, including the expression of ambitions and aspirations through family history; the social and cultural means employed to enhance status; the legal, religious and political attitude toward sovereigns; the role of women in the formation and reproduction of (composite) dynastic identities; and the transition of aristocratic dynasties to royal dynasties. In so doing the collection provides a platform for looking again at dynastic identity in early modern Europe, and reveals how it was a compound of political, religious, social, cultural, historical and individual attitudes.

The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China

The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China

The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China

The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China presents a major new approach in research on the formation of the Qing empire (1636–1912) in early modern China. Focusing on the symbolic practices that structured domination and legitimized authority, the book challenges traditional understandings of state-formation, and argues that in addition to war making and institution building, the disciplining of diverse political actors, and the construction of political order through symbolic acts were essential undertakings in the making of the Qing state. Beginning in 1631 with the establishment of the key disciplinary organization, the Board of Rites, and culminating with the publication of the first administrative code in 1690, Keliher shows that the Qing political environment was premised on sets of intertwined relationships constantly performed through acts such as the New Year’s Day ceremony, greeting rites, and sumptuary regulations, or what was referred to as li in Chinese. Drawing on Chinese- and Manchu-language archival sources, this book is the first to demonstrate how Qing state-makers drew on existing practices and made up new ones to reimagine political culture and construct a system of domination that lay the basis for empire.

Roaming into the Beyond Representations of Xian Immortality in Early Medieval Chinese Verse

Roaming into the Beyond  Representations of Xian Immortality in Early Medieval Chinese Verse

Roaming into the Beyond Representations of Xian Immortality in Early Medieval Chinese Verse

This book examines representations of Daoist xian immortality in a broad range of versified literature from the Han until the end of the Six Dynasties and explores the complex interaction between poetry and Daoist religion in early medieval China.

Daoist Identity

Daoist Identity

Daoist Identity

Daoist Identity is an exploration of the various means by which Daoists over the centuries have created an identity for themselves. Using modern sociological studies of identity formation as its foundation, it brings together a representative sample of in-depth analyses by eminent American and Japanese scholars in the field. The discussion begins with critical examinations of the ways identity was found among the early movements of the Way of Great Peace and the Celestial Masters. The role of sacred texts and literary culture in Daoist identity formation is discussed. The volume then focuses on lineage formation and the increasing role of popular religious practices, such as spirit-writing, in modern Daoism since the Song dynasty. Finally it discusses the Daoist adaptation and reinterpretation of Buddhist rites, such as the feeding of souls in hell and the use of ritual gestures, and the changes made in contemporary Daoism in relation to traditional rites and popular practices. Contributors: Asano Haruji, Suzanne Cahill, M. Csikszentmihalyi, Edward L. Davis, Terry F. Kleeman, Livia Kohn, Mabuchi Masaya, Maruyama Hiroshi, Mitamura Keiko, Mori Yuria, Peter Nickerson, Charles D. Orzech, Harold D. Roth, Shiga Ichiko, Tsuchiya Masaaki.

Demonic Warfare

Demonic Warfare

Demonic Warfare

Revealing the fundamental continuities that exist between vernacular fiction and exorcist, martial rituals in the vernacular language, Mark Meulenbeld argues that a specific type of Daoist exorcism helped shape vernacular novels in the late Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Focusing on the once famous novel Fengshen yanyi ("Canonization of the Gods"), the author maps out the general ritual structure and divine protagonists that it borrows from much older systems of Daoist exorcism. By exploring how the novel reflects the specific concerns of communities associated with Fengshen yanyi and its ideology, Meulenbeld is able to reconstruct the cultural sphere in which Daoist exorcist rituals informed late imperial "novels." He first looks at temple networks and their religious festivals. Organized by local communities for territorial protection, these networks featured martial narratives about the powerful and heroic deeds of the gods. He then shows that it is by means of dramatic practices like ritual, theatre, and temple processions that divine acts were embodied and brought to life. Much attention is given to local militias who embodied "demon soldiers" as part of their defensive strategies. Various Ming emperors actively sought the support of these local religious networks and even continued to invite Daoist ritualists so as to efficiently marshal the forces of local gods with their local demon soldiers into the official, imperial reserves of military power. This unusual book establishes once and for all the importance of understanding the idealized realities of literary texts within a larger context of cultural practice and socio-political history. Of particular importance is the ongoing dialog with religious ideology that informs these different discourses. Meulenbeld's book makes a convincing case for the need to debunk the retrospective reading of China through the modern, secular Western categories of "literature," "society," and "politics." He shows that this disregard of religious dynamics has distorted our understanding of China and that "religion" cannot be conveniently isolated from scholarly analysis.

The Oxford World History of Empire

The Oxford World History of Empire

The Oxford World History of Empire

This is the first world history of empire, reaching from the third millennium BCE to the present. By combining synthetic surveys, thematic comparative essays, and numerous chapters on specific empires, its two volumes provide unparalleled coverage of imperialism throughout history and across continents, from Asia to Europe and from Africa to the Americas. Only a few decades ago empire was believed to be a thing of the past; now it is clear that it has been and remains one of the most enduring forms of political organization and power. We cannot understand the dynamics and resilience of empire without moving decisively beyond the study of individual cases or particular periods, such as the relatively short age of European colonialism. The history of empire, as these volumes amply demonstrate, needs to be drawn on the much broader canvas of global history. Volume Two: The History of Empires tracks the protean history of political domination from the very beginnings of state formation in the Bronze Age up to the present. Case studies deal with the full range of the historical experience of empire, from the realms of the Achaemenids and Asoka to the empires of Mali and Songhay, and from ancient Rome and China to the Mughals, American settler colonialism, and the Soviet Union. Forty-five chapters detailing the history of individual empires are tied together by a set of global synthesizing surveys that structure the world history of empire into eight chronological phases.

The Paradox of Being

The Paradox of Being

The Paradox of Being

The question of truth has never been more urgent than today, when the distortion of facts and the imposition of pseudo-realities in the service of the powerful have become the order of the day. In The Paradox of Being Poul Andersen addresses the concept of truth in Chinese Daoist philosophy and ritual. His approach is unapologetically universalist, and the book may be read as a call for a new way of studying Chinese culture, one that does not shy away from approaching “the other” in terms of an engagement with “our own” philosophical heritage. The basic Chinese word for truth is zhen, which means both true and real, and it bypasses the separation of the two ideas insisted on in much of the Western philosophical tradition. Through wide-ranging research into Daoist ritual, both in history and as it survives in the present day, Andersen shows that the concept of true reality that informs this tradition posits being as a paradox anchored in the inexistent Way (Dao). The preferred way of life suggested by this insight consists in seeking to be an exception to ordinary norms and rules of behavior which nonetheless engages what is common to us all.

Four Seasons

Four Seasons

Four Seasons

This important contribution to imperial Chinese history illuminates the basic concerns of the Ming state. Eminent scholar John W. Dardess shows in fascinating detail how Emperor Jiajing and his grand secretaries managed affairs of state and how personal ambition and policy differences combined to animate imperial political life. At the top sat Jiajing, industrious, religious, knowledgeable, ritually pious, but short-tempered and cruel. His chief assistants during his forty-six-year reign were his four successive grand secretaries. First was Zhang Fujing, a hard-minded bureaucratic fighter and ideologue, life coach to Jiajing during his youth. Then came Xia Yan, a superb technocrat who was executed for his part in a major policy dispute. He was followed by Yan Song, a colossally corrupt machine politician who knew how to please his ruler. Finally was Xu Jie, a liberal-minded reformer who put a benign edge on the regime’s final years. Drawing on a treasure trove of the grand secretaries’ personal writings, his narrative brings to life the inner workings of imperial governance, providing detailed descriptions of the challenging problems and crises faced by the largest polity on the face of the earth. Richly researched and engagingly written, this book will be essential reading for scholars and students of Ming China.