Soaring dragon amid dynastic transition

Dates and legitimacy among the post-Ming Chinese diaspora

Authored by: Xing Hang

The Ming World

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138190986
eBook ISBN: 9780429318719
Adobe ISBN:


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From 2014 to 2016, I conducted fieldwork in Southeast Asia. I visited many Chinese temples, shrines, guild halls, and cemeteries: the essential fixtures of diasporic community and identity in their respective locales. I scrutinized tomb carvings, steles, plaques, and inscriptions on incense burners and roof beams for insight into the history of Chinese immigration and settlement in the region. I took a special interest in the dates that typically occupy the closing line of these epigraphic records. They were marked in diverse ways, including Qing imperial reign names, the traditional Chinese sexagenary system of stems and roots (ganzhi), native Southeast Asian conventions, and even the Western solar calendar.

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