The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China

Front Cover
Stanford University Press, 2001 - History - 580 pages
In 1644, the Manchus, a relatively unknown people inhabiting China s rude northeastern frontier, overthrew the Ming, Asia s mightiest rulers, and established the Qing dynasty, which endured to 1912. From this event arises one of Chinese history s great conundrums: How did a barely literate alien people manage to remain in power for nearly 300 years over a highly cultured population that was vastly superior in number? This problem has fascinated scholars for almost a century, but until now no one has approached the question from the Manchu point of view.

This book, the first in any language to be based mainly on Manchu documents, supplies a radically new perspective on the formative period of the modern Chinese nation. Drawing on recent critical notions of ethnicity, the author explores the evolution of the "Eight Banners, a unique Manchu system of social and military organization that was instrumental in the conquest of the Ming.

The author argues that as rulers of China the Manchu conquerors had to behave like Confucian monarchs, but that as a non-Han minority they faced other, more complex considerations as well. Their power derived not only from the acceptance of orthodox Chinese notions of legitimacy, but also, the author suggests, from Manchu "ethnic sovereignty, which depended on the sustained coherence of the conquerors.

When, in the early 1700s, this coherence was threatened by rapid acculturation and the prospective loss of Manchu distinctiveness, the Qing court, always insecure, desperately urged its minions to uphold the traditions of an idealized "Manchu Way. However, the author shows that it was not this appeal but rather the articulation of a broader identity grounded in the realities of Eight Banner life that succeeded in preserving Manchu ethnicity, and the Qing dynasty along with it, into the twentieth century.

 

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Contents

XIV
39
XVII
42
XVIII
47
XIX
52
XX
56
XXI
63
XXII
72
XXIII
78
LIV
234
LV
235
LVI
241
LVII
246
LVIII
255
LIX
257
LX
263
LXI
268

XXIV
89
XXVI
90
XXVII
93
XXVIII
98
XXIX
105
XXX
116
XXXI
122
XXXII
128
XXXIII
133
XXXIV
134
XXXV
138
XXXVI
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XXXVII
152
XXXVIII
156
XXXIX
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XL
164
XLI
175
XLIV
182
XLV
191
XLVI
197
XLVII
210
XLVIII
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XLIX
216
L
219
LI
225
LII
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LIII
230
LXII
275
LXIV
276
LXV
284
LXVI
290
LXVII
294
LXVIII
299
LXIX
305
LXX
306
LXXI
313
LXXII
322
LXXIII
326
LXXIV
329
LXXV
333
LXXVI
337
LXXVII
342
LXXVIII
345
LXXIX
346
LXXX
355
LXXXI
363
LXXXIII
365
LXXXV
369
LXXXVI
373
LXXXVII
505
LXXXVIII
511
LXXXIX
551
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Page xxv - Our youth, of labor patient, earn their bread ; Hardly they work with frugal diet fed. From ploughs and harrows sent to seek renown, They fight in fields, and storm the shaken town.
Page xxv - Th' inverted lance makes furrows in the plain. Ev'n time, that changes all, yet changes us in vain — The body, not the mind — nor can controul Th' immortal vigour, or abate the soul.
Page 22 - I have heard of men using the doctrines of our great land to change barbarians, but I have never yet heard of any being changed by barbarians.
Page xx - Additional research was assisted by a research grant from the Joint Committee on Chinese Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, with funds provided by the Andrew W.

About the author (2001)

Mark C. Elliott is Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History at Harvard University.

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