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The Significance of State Sacrifice in Early Qing – An Examination of the Shunzhi Period

Pages 133 - 147


While most scholars have been attracted by the Qianlong emperor's history projects in asserting Manchu identity, few people have paid attention to the historical consciousness of the Manchus in the Manchu-language documents of the founding period. The Palace Historiographic Academy (Nei-guo-shi-yuan 內國史院), founded in 1636, was the earliest history office of the Qing Dynasty, and was responsible for keeping records, editing imperial pronouncements and producing historical documents. This paper will focus on the values and ethics that had been transmitted by these documents, thereby enabling us to assess more precisely the shaping of ‘Manchuness’ in the founding period of the Qing Dynasty.

乾隆時代的歷史學計畫已屬於很普遍的一種歷史研究題目,反正內國史院之滿 文文件利用得很少。內國史院,即清朝最早的歷史檔案,就是這篇文章的題目。

國立中央大學 / National Central University, Taiwan

1 In recent years, a significant number of studies have been devoted to topics relating to the Shunzhi period, but few have as yet chosen to focus on the subject of imperial sacrifice. As for the biography of the Emperor Shunzhi, see Tao Guo 陶果 (ed.), Shunzhidi, Qing Shizu, Chiqing huangdi 順治帝:清世祖:癡情皇帝 (Taipei: Mingtian wenhua, 2004); Yang Liping 楊立平, Shunzhi Huangdi 順治皇帝 (Beijing: Beijing Tushu chubanshe, 2001); Zhou Yuanlian 周遠廉, Shunzhidi 順治帝 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe, 1993); Ma Xiedi 馬協弟 (ed.), Shunzhi Huangdi yishe 順治皇帝軼事 (Taiyuan: Shanxi Jinji chubanshe, 1993).

2 Qingshilu, Shunzhi, 15/5b–6a. A part of Hong's memorial has been translated into English, see Chen-main Wang, The Life and Career of Hung Ch'eng-ch'ou (1593–1665): Public Service in a Time of Dynastic Change (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Association for Asian Studies Press, 1999), p. 138.

3 For the question of Emperor Shunzhi's Will and the following politics, see Robert B. Oxnam, Ruling from horseback: Manchu politics in the Oboi Regency, 1661–1669 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.)

4 It is recorded in some material that Nurhaci established seven great temples at Hetu Ala in 1615 and dedicated one of them to honour Confucius. Qingshilu, Taizu, 4/58b; Teng Shaozhen 滕紹箴, “Lun dongbei xingqi de jige minzu zhengquan de zhongyuan wenhua rentong – tan jikong went 論東北興起的幾個民族政權的中原文化認同–談祭孔問題”, Chengde minzu shizhuan xuebao 承德民族師專學報, 31.1 (March 2011), p. 5. However, there was no sign at all to show his respect for Confucian culture.

5 Qingshilu, Taizong, Vol. 28, p. 360.

6 Shi Gexin 史革新, “Lüelun Qingchao ruguan qian dui Han wenhua de xishou 略論清朝入關前 對於漢文化的吸收”, in Jindai wenhua jiu de jicheng yu chuangxin – Gong Shuduo bazhi chudu jinian bianji Gong Shuduo bazhi chudu jinian 近代文化硏究的繼承與創新–龔書鐸八 秩初度紀念 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 2010), pp. 123–124.

7 Qingchao tongdian 清朝通典, Vol. 48, p. 2309. Also see Liu Zhongping 劉中平, “Lun Qingdai jidian zhida 論清代祭典制度”, Liaoning daxue xuebao 遼寧大學學報, 36.6 (Nov. 2008), p. 86.

8 Huang Jinxing 黃進興, “Jiekai Kongmiao jidian de fuma – jian lun qi zongjiao xin 解開孔廟祭 典的符碼–兼論其宗教性”, in Tian Hao (田浩, Hoyt Tillman), Wenhua yu lishi de zhuisuo – Yu Yingshi jiaoshou bazhi shouqing lunwenji 文化與歷史的追索–余英時教授八秩壽慶論文 集 (Taipei: Lianjing, 2009), p. 551.

9 Not long after the arrival of the Manchus in Beijing, the Governor of Shandong, Fang Daxian 方大獻, presented a memorial to the throne in which he stated the urgency in honouring Confucius and in investing official titles to Confucian descendents. After the deliberation of the Ministry of Personnel, it was ruled in October 1644 to follow the Ming rule in this matter. Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 9/92b; Zhao Erxun 趙爾巽 (ed.), Qing shi gao 清史稿 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 2006), p. 13307; Liu Fangling 劉方玲, “Qingchu youli yanshenggong yu ji Kong yishi zheng-dang xing 清初優禮衍聖公與祭孔儀式正當性”, Beifang luncong 北方論叢, 1st issue of 2010, p. 80.

10 Chang Guixiang 常貴想, “Qingdai qianqi si Kong yen jiu 清代前期祀孔研究”, MA thesis, Shandong Normal University, 2009, p. 30.

11 This happened in the 14th year of Shunzhi period. Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 17/5b.

12 Regent Dorgon announced the hair and dress policy on the day following the entry of Manchu armies into Beijing. However, he rescinded the measure three weeks later.

13 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 17/5b.

14 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 21/7a.

15 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 55/11b–12b.

16 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 16/13a–13b.

17 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 31/7a.

18 Professor Elliot suggests that the prayers were read in Chinese in the mid-eighteenth century. If it is true, then, when and why the Manchu leaders switched the prayers from Manchu to Chinese is an issue worthy of investigation. Mark C. Elliott, The Manchu way: the eight banners and ethnic identity in late imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001), p. 238.

19 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 5/16b–17a.

20 Ibid., 5/17a. The Temple honouring emperors of all former dynasties was built by the Founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1373 in Nanjing. Later, the Ming emperor rebuilt this temple in Beijing in 1530, and the tablet of the Emperor Shizu of the Yuan dynasty was removed from the temple in 1545.

21 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 15/1a–1b.

22 A general introduction to “tangzi” in shamanic background, see Elliott, The Manchu way, pp. 235–241.

23 Qingchao tongzhi 清朝通志, p. 6946. Huangchao wenxian tongkao 皇朝文獻通考, p. 5719.

24 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 8/7b–8a.

25 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 105/10b.

26 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 114/4a.

27 Nurhaci established the so-called Deliberative Council, which was composed of eight princes, to discuss state affairs. Later, with the addition of various princes and grand ministers to its membership, it was renamed the Deliberative Council of Princes and High Officials. In the pre-conquest era, as its members were drawn from the Manchu nobility, it represented a form of “collective aristocratic rule”. Wakeman, The Great Enterprise, 851. However, this council was once not in good function because of Regent Dorgon's dominance of the court politics.

28 Tan Qian 談遷, Beiyou lu 北遊錄 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1997, reprinted), pp. 368–369, 374.

29 A reason for Emperor Taizong to employ Chinese officials was that the Chinese could be useful in adopting the imperial system of government, thereby strengthening him against his rivals at court. Gertraude Roth, “The Manchu-Chinese Relationship, 1618–1636”, in Jonathan Spence and John E. Wills, Jr. eds., From Ming to Ch'ing: Conquest, Region and Continuity in Seventeenth-Century China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), pp. 21–22.

30 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 74/4a–5b.

31 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 74/5b–6b.

32 Zhongguo dìyi lishi dang'an guan 中國第一歷史檔案館 (ed.), Qingchu nei guoshi yuan manwen dang'an yibian 清初內國史院滿文檔案譯編 (Beijing: Guangming ribao she, 1986–1989), Vol. 3, p. 293.

33 Ibid., pp. 294–296. It is interesting to note that the Manchu document records this sacrificial ceremony in great detail while the Shilu has only one line: “the emperor personally attended the sacrifice in the eastern suburb”. It might be possible that the sacrifice to Sun Altar was new to the Manchu historiographic officials.

34 Ibid., p. 296.

35 Ibid., pp. 299–303.

36 Wakeman, The great enterprise, pp. 975–981.

37 Ibid., pp. 985–986.

38 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 83/4a–4b.

39 Tan Qian, Beiyou lu, p. 391.

40 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 82/6b–7a.

41 Ibid., 82/12a–12b.

42 Ibid., 85/8b–9a.

43 Zhongguo dìyi lishi dang'an guan (ed.), Qingchu nei guoshi yuan manwen dang'an yibian, Vol. 3, p. 322.

44 Qing shilu, Shunzhi, 86/11a–11b.


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