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The Last EmperorsA Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions$
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Evelyn Rawski

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780520212893

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520212893.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Palace Servants

Palace Servants

(p.160) Chapter 5 Palace Servants
The Last Emperors

Evelyn S. Rawski

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on palace servants and analyzes the master–servant relationship in terms of the ruler's political and symbolic agenda. The size and diverse composition of the palace establishment was a corollary of the emperor's preeminence. The very size of the staff, however, created control problems. The Qing resolved the age-old issue of eunuch subversion by employing another subordinated status group, the imperial bondservants, in supervisory roles within a bureaucratized palace administration. Together with inner-court and banner officials, the bondservants formed the Imperial Household Department and enabled the emperors to bypass the Han-dominated civil service in many arenas, extending far beyond the rulers' domestic affairs.

Keywords:   master–servant relationship, control problems, imperial bondservants, eunuch subversion, domestic affairs

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