Chinese history has always been written from a centrist viewpoint.Telling the story of a quintessential Chinese culture that spreaduniformly from the administrative heartland to the previously untamedperiphery, official records have largely ignored the local histories ofthe country’s conquered peoples, preserved for generations in theform of oral tradition through myths, legends, and religious rituals.The history of southwestern China, a region known today for itsminority character, is the subject of this volume.
In Chieftains into Ancestors, the authors describe theintersection of imperial administration and chieftain-dominated localculture. Since the acceptance of a new socio-political structure neverhappens overnight, they observe local rituals against the backdrop ofextant written records, focusing on examples from the southwesternHunan, Guangxi, Yunnan, and southwestern Guangdong provinces. Theauthors contemplate the crucial question of how one can begin to writethe history of a conquered people whose past has been largely wipedout. Combining anthropological fieldwork with historical textualanalysis, they dig deep for the indigenous voice as they build a newhistory of China’s southwestern region – one thatrecognizes the ethnic, religious, and gendered transformations thattook place in China’s nation-building process.
This book will appeal to Asian Studies scholars, as well as toanyone interested in the effects of nation-building on religiousritual, oral tradition, gender roles, and the representation ofhistory.
We need to examine state expansion from the perspective of local societies and, with Chieftains into Ancestors, we now have the conceptual and methodological tools to do this. This is historical anthropology and micro-history at its best.
This is a fantastic and first-class collection, highly original in its combination of anthropological with historical approaches and marking a real contribution to understandings of social and cultural processes in southern China. Authored by some of the leading scholars in the field with an unparalleled knowledge of this subject, Chieftains into Ancestors is original and enlightening.
David Faure is Wei Lun Professor of History at theChinese University of Hong Kong. His books include Emperor andAncestor: State and Lineage in South China. HoTs'ui-p'ing is an associate research fellow at theInstitute of Ethnology at Academia Sinica and an adjunct associateprofessor in the Institute of Anthropology at National Tsing HuaUniversity. She is the co-editor of State, Market and Ethnic GroupsContextualized.
Contributors: Lian Ruizhi, Huang Shu-li, JamesWilkerson, He Xi, Xie Xiaohui, Kao Ya-ning, and Zhang Yingqiang.
Introduction / David Faure
1 Reciting the Words as Doing the Rite: LanguageIdeology and Its Social Consequences in the Hmong’s QhuabKev (Showing the Way) / Huang Shu-li
2 Chief, God, or National Hero? Representing Nong Zhigaoin Chinese Ethnic Minority Society / Kao Ya-ning
3 The Venerable Flying Mountain: Patron Deity on theBorder of Hunan and Guizhou / Zhang Yingqiang
4 Surviving Conquest in Dali: Chiefs, Deities, andAncestors / Lian Ruizhi
5 From Woman’s Fertility to Masculine Authority:The Story of the White Emperor Heavenly Kings in Western Hunan /Xie Xiaohui
6 The Past Tells It Differently: The Myth of NativeSubjugation in the Creation of Lineage Society in South China / HeXi
7 The Tusi That Never Was: Find an Ancestor,Connect to the State / David Faure
8 The Wancheng Native Officialdom: Social Production andSocial Reproduction / James Wilkerson
9 Gendering Ritual Community across the ChineseSouthwest Borderland / Ho Ts’ui-p’ing
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