As a conquest dynasty, Qing China's new Manchu leaders 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 laborious and time-consuming mourning rituals, the touchstones of a well-ordered Confucian society, would be observed by officials throughout the empire. In this way, the emperor would be following the ancient dictate that he 'govern all-under-heaven with filial piety'. 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. With acute sensitivity to language and its changing meanings, Kutcher sheds light on a wide variety of issues that are of interest to historians of late Imperial China.
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(228mm x 152mm x 16mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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