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Mourning in Late Imperial China
Filial Piety and the State


Part of Cambridge Studies in Chinese History, Literature and Institutions

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521030182

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • A study of filial piety and mourning in China
    • Skilfully blends intellectual and institutional history
    • Changes our understanding of the Ming-Qing transition and illuminates questions of rulership in the Qing
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521030182
    • length: 228 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    A note on conventions
    Reigns of Ming and Qing emperors
    1. Death and the state in imperial China: continuities
    2. The reorientation of Ming attitudes toward mourning
    3. The early Qing transformation of mourning practice
    4. The bureaucratization of the Confucian li
    5. The death of Xiaoxian and the crisis of Qianlong rule
    6. Death and Chinese society
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Norman Kutcher, Syracuse University, New York

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