Midway through the reign of Ch'ien-lung emperor, Hungli, mass hysteria broke out. It was feared that sorcerers were roaming the land clipping off the ends of men's queues (braids worn by royal decree) and chanting magical incantations over them in order to steal the souls of their owners. In this book, Kuhn chronicles this epidemic of fear and the official prosecution of soulstealers that ensued, so opening up a window on 18th-century China. The book raises questions not just about China, but also about past human behaviour in general and it demonstates how in any society, a provincial panic can become a national witch-hunt.
Buy Soulstealers book by Philip A. Kuhn from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(235mm x 155mm x 20mm)
Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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Author Biography - Philip A. Kuhn
Philip A. Kuhn is Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University.