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An Introduction to the Qing Foundation Myth

From: Late Imperial China
Volume 6, Number 2, December 1985
pp. 13-24 | 10.1353/late.1985.0016

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Pamela Kyle Crossley  

Pamela Kyle Crossley is an Assistant Professor of History at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.



Aisin Gioro




Bukuri Yongson











Kaiyuan lu

Möngke Temür














* I thank the American Council of Learned Societies and the Mellon Foundation, whose support has aided in the research for this essay, and the China-Japan Program at Cornell University, which has been helpful and friendly in so many ways during 1984 and 1985. Portions of this study grow directly from my 1983 dissertation, '"Historical and Magic Unity': The Real and Ideal Clan in Manchu Identity," and I remain grateful to Jonathan Spence, Ying-shih Yü, Beatrice Bartlett and Joseph Fletcher for their comments on that work. I am further indebted to Betsy Bartlett and Mark Elliott for drawing my attention to some very helpful materials. Many thanks to Gail Patten for editorial aid.

1. The preceding paraphrase is from Qingshi gao (1928), 1:1a (1977 edition p.1). It is a condensation of an earlier version. Compare Manzhou shilu, unnumbered pages 1-16, Donghua lu 1:1a-b (1980 edition p.1). A more elaborate treatment is Mūkden i fujurun bithe (1743), discussed below.

2. Möngke Temür is discussed at some length in my article, "The Tong in Two Worlds: Cultural Identities in Liaodong and Nurgan during the 13th to 17th Centuries" in Ch'ing-shih wen-t'i Vol. 4, No. 9 (June 1983); see particularly pp. 34-36, 45. See also Goodrich and Fang, eds., Dictionary of Ming Biography 1368-1644 (1976), pp. 1065-6; Hummel, ed., Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1943), pp. 494-5; Qingshi gao (1928) 222:4b-5a (1977 edition pp. 9116-7). Möngke Temür is mentioned frequently in the Yijo sillǒk for the reigns of T'aejong (1401- 1418) and Sejong (1401-1418). See chapters 5-19. References to Jurchens in the YS have been collected in Wang Zhonghan, ed., Chaoxian 'Lichao shilu' zhong de nüzhen shiliao xuanpian (September 1979); see especially pp. 1-48.

3. See "The Tong in Two Worlds," pp. 34-6. For a review of the history of the western Jurchen groups in Liaodong, particularly those known as the Haixi, see Morris Rossabi, The Jurchens in the Yüan and Ming (1982).

4. Zhu Xizu offered an exhaustive review of the early Qing generations and their variations in his Hou Jin xingshi kao (1932). See also Qingshi gao (1928) 1 (1977 edition pp. 1-2).

5. Fanča has some independent importance as a frequent spokesman for his brother at the Yi court and as the Wodoli leader after his brother's death. See Qingshi gao 222 (1977 edition pp. 9119-9120 and Wang, Chaoxian 'Lichao shilu', p. 38ff.

6. The Korean records indicate an intensifying conflict between the Yi Court and Fanča over Jurchen occupation of the Womuhe region. It is also possible that a concerted Yi military effort combined with Jurchen disaffection to force Fanča's remigration. See Wang, Chaoxian 'Lichao shilu' (1979), pp. 39-49; E. W. Wagner, The Literati Purges: Political Conflict in Early Yi Korea (1974), pp. 8-10.

7. Manchu texts, in this case, indicates the Manju i yargiyan kooli, which was the basis for the Chinese Manzhou shilu and the Mūkden i fujurun bithe (1743), commissioned by the Qianlong emperor and translated into Chinese as Shengjing fu (see below). For a thorough discussion of Manchu sources, see Joseph Fletcher's essay in Donald D. Leslie et al., Essays on the Sources for Chinese History, (Canberra, 1973), pp. 141-6.

8. "Ilantumen" is used throughout this essay to represent a sequence of names found in these forms: Sandoumen (Yijo sillǒk), Irandoumen (Yongbi ǒ'chǒn'ga), Sanwan (Ming shi), Sanxing (Qingshi gao), Ilanhala (Yilanxian zhi). For standardization I use a Jurchen/Manchu construction of the name. In light of overwhelming evidence on the connection of the early Uriangqa with Ilantumen, I discount the explanation given in Yilanxian zhi (Yang Buxi et...

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