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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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Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism at Court

Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism at Court

(p.231) Chapter 7 Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism at Court
The Last Emperors

Evelyn S. Rawski

University of California Press

This chapter turns to the court's patronage of shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism, and to its pursuit of a multicultural policy directed at different subject peoples in the empire. Shamanism was the avowed traditional belief system of the Manchus but originally focused on the resolution of individual problems. State shamanic rites developed as an alternative and counterpart to the Han Chinese political rituals. In the eighteenth century, the court attempted to preserve shamanic rituals through codification. Shamanism provided not only the foundation myths legitimating the Qing ruling house but also a cultural umbrella for integration of northeastern tribal groups. Tibetan Buddhism attracted Manchu rulers because it was the belief system of the Mongols and, in the seventeenth century, a key to supremacy in Inner Asia.

Keywords:   shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism, multicultural policy, political rituals, Han Chinese, codification, Manchu rulers

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