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Frontiers of History in China

Front Hist Chin    2011, Vol. 6 Issue (1) : 26-52
research-article |
Civil-Military Tensions during the Kangxi Emperor’s First Southern Tour
Michael G. Chang()
Department of History and Art History, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 22030, USA
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Starting with a court debate which broke out in the spring of 1684, this essay explores the multivalent symbolism of the Kangxi emperor’s first imperial tour to Shandong and Jiangsu provinces in the fall of 1684. Some courtiers advocated treating the Kangxi emperor’s touring activities as a rite of conquest, while others saw them as an exercise in sagely rule and benevolent civil governance. Here I suggest that this ritual controversy revealed a tension between civil and military values within the political culture of the Qing court. Furthermore, this ideological tension became most acute and apparent during the Kangxi emperor’s “eastern” and “southern” tours of 1684, when the imperial procession approached and crossed certain culturally and symbolically significant locations. As such, we are reminded that the legitimization of Qing rule was never fully complete, but was rather an open-ended and ongoing historical process.

Keywords the Qing dynasty      the Kangxi emperor      touring activities      the imperial court      political culture      civil-military values      ritual     
Corresponding Authors: Michael G. Chang,   
Issue Date: 05 March 2011
 Cite this article:   
Michael G. Chang. Civil-Military Tensions during the Kangxi Emperor’s First Southern Tour[J]. Front Hist Chin, 2011, 6(1): 26-52.
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