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Perspectives on the Yi of Southwest China$
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Stevan Harrell

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520219885

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520219885.001.0001

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Reconstructing Yi History from Yi Records

Reconstructing Yi History from Yi Records

(p.21) Chapter 1 Reconstructing Yi History from Yi Records
Perspectives on the Yi of Southwest China

Wu Gu

University of California Press

This chapter offers a comprehensive survey of the kinds of materials other than traditional Han-language historiographical works that can be used as sources for writing Yi history, and, in doing so, stakes out the parameters of a unified history of the Yi as a whole. It makes a strong claim that the use of such sources not only enriches our view of Yi history, extending it backward in time and adding cultural and social elements invisible in Han-language records, but also forces us to think differently about what is important in writing history. There is much about ritual and etiquette, attitudes toward guests, military ideology, and so on that is recoverable from Yi-language books, even if they do not contain the precise historical dating which is so characteristic of national Chinese histories written in the Han language.

Keywords:   Yi history, Han language, Chinese history

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