Chapter

Private Rituals

Evelyn S. Rawski

in The Last Emperors

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 1998 | ISBN: 9780520212893
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926790 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520212893.003.0009
Private Rituals

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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

Chapter.  13795 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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