By Mark C. Elliott

In 1644, the Manchus, a comparatively unknown humans inhabiting China’s impolite northeastern frontier, overthrew the Ming, Asia’s mightiest rulers, and proven the Qing dynasty, which continued to 1912. From this occasion arises one in every of chinese language history’s nice conundrums: How did a slightly literate alien humans be capable to stay in strength for almost three hundred years over a hugely cultured inhabitants that used to be greatly more suitable in quantity? This challenge has interested students for nearly a century, yet previously nobody has approached the query from the Manchu aspect of view.

This e-book, the 1st in any language to be established regularly on Manchu records, offers a considerably new point of view at the formative interval of the trendy chinese language state. Drawing on fresh severe notions of ethnicity, the writer explores the evolution of the “Eight Banners,” a different Manchu approach of social and army association that was once instrumental within the conquest of the Ming.

The writer argues that as rulers of China the Manchu conquerors needed to behave like Confucian monarchs, yet that as a non-Han minority they confronted different, extra complicated issues in addition. Their strength derived not just from the reputation of orthodox chinese language notions of legitimacy, but additionally, the writer indicates, from Manchu “ethnic sovereignty,” which relied on the sustained coherence of the conquerors.

When, within the early 1700s, this coherence was once threatened by means of speedy acculturation and the potential lack of Manchu specialty, the Qing court docket, continuously insecure, desperately instructed its minions to uphold the traditions of an idealized “Manchu Way.” notwithstanding, the writer exhibits that it was once now not this allure yet really the articulation of a broader id grounded within the realities of 8 Banner existence that succeeded in retaining Manchu ethnicity, and the Qing dynasty besides it, into the 20 th century.

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