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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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Private Rituals

Private Rituals

(p.264) Chapter 8 Private Rituals
The Last Emperors

Evelyn S. Rawski

University of California Press

This chapter examines the religious life of the inner court, in which palace women as well as men participated. Shielded from official scrutiny, the private altars erected in palace residences, as well as the halls in Jingshan, north of the palace compound, were ritual spaces within which private emotion and sentiment could prevail over the strict hierarchical order dictated by dynastic regulations. Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist, Taoist, and shamanic observances commingled in the imperial household's performance of the calendrical rituals common to residents of the capital. The private or domestic rituals of the Qing court were a synthetic, eclectic blend of the many cultural and religious traditions espoused by Qing rulers. As such, these rituals symbolized the final denouement of Qing imperial institutions, which created a fusion of the diverse cultures of the empire.

Keywords:   palace women, private altars, dynastic regulations, calendrical rituals, Qing court

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