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.
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.
From the mid-sixteenth through the end of the seventeenth century, Chinese intellectuals attended more to dreams and dreaming—and in a wider array of genres—than in any other period of Chinese history. Taking the approach of cultural history, this ambitious yet accessible work aims both to describe the most salient aspects of this “dream arc” and to explain its trajectory in time through the writings, arts, and practices of well-known thinkers, religionists, litterateurs, memoirists, painters, doctors, and political figures of late Ming and early Qing times. The volume’s encompassing thesis asserts that certain associations of dreaming, grounded in the neurophysiology of the human brain at sleep—such as subjectivity, irrationality, the unbidden, lack of control, emotionality, spontaneity, the imaginal, and memory—when especially heightened by historical and cultural developments, are likely to pique interest in dreaming and generate florescences of dream-expression among intellectuals. The work thus makes a contribution to the history of how people have understood human consciousness in various times and cultures. The Dreaming Mind and the End of the Ming World is the most substantial work in any language on the historicity of Chinese dream culture. Within Chinese studies, it will appeal to those with backgrounds in literature, religion, philosophy, political history, and the visual arts. It will also be welcomed by readers interested in comparative dream cultures, the history of consciousness, and neurohistory.
Th e Empress and the Heavenly Masters
Author: Luk Yuping
Publisher: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press
Over twentyseven meters long, the Ordination Scroll of Empress Zhang (1493) is an important Ming Dynasty Daoist artifact from the San Diego Museum of Art's collection that records the imperial ordination of Empress Zhang (1470–1541), consort of the Ming Dynasty Hongzhi emperor (r. 1488–1505), by Zhang Xuanqing (d. 1509), the fortyseventh Heavenly Master of the Zhengyi institution. This book uncovers the history of imperial ordinations through a detailed examination of the scroll's transcriptions and the meticulouslypainted images of celestial beings, as well as the influences of the Daoist leaders known as the Zhengyi Heavenly Masters.
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.
Like most empires, the Ming court sponsored grand displays of dynastic strength and military prowess. Covering the first two centuries of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Martial Spectacles of the Ming Court explores how the royal hunt, polo matches, archery contests, equestrian demonstrations, and the imperial menagerie were represented in poetry, prose, and portraiture. This study reveals that martial spectacles were highly charged sites of contestation, where Ming emperors and senior court ministers staked claims about rulership, ruler-minister relations, and the role of the military in the polity. Simultaneously colorful entertainment, prestigious social events, and statements of power, martial spectacles were intended to make manifest the ruler’s personal generosity, keen discernment, and respect for family tradition. They were, however, subject to competing interpretations that were often beyond the emperor’s control or even knowledge. By situating Ming martial spectacles in the wider context of Eurasia, David Robinson brings to light the commensurability of the Ming court with both the Mongols and Manchus but more broadly with other early modern courts such as the Timurids, the Mughals, and the Ottomans.
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.
Doing Good and Ridding Evil in Ming China The Political Career of Wang Yangming
In Doing Good and Ridding Evil in Ming China: The Political Career of Wang Yangming, George L. Israel offers a detailed study of this influential Neo-Confucian philosopher’s official career and military campaigns.
Defining religion as “value systems in practice”, Modern Chinese Religion is a multi-disciplinary work that shows the processes of rationalization and interiorization at work in the rituals, self-cultivation practices, thought, and iconography of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism in the 10th-14th centuries.