gigatos | February 27, 2023
The Manchus (traditional Chinese: 滿族, simplified Chinese: 满族, pinyin: Mǎnzú, Wade-Giles: Man³-tsu²) are an ethnic minority in China that originated in what is now northeastern Manchuria. They are also called “red-fringed Manchus,” a reference to the ornaments on their traditional hats. They are descendants of the Jurchen, the people who established the first Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). In 1616 the Manchus re-established the Jin Dynasty, deposed the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and founded the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).
The Manchus form the largest arm of the Tungus peoples and are distributed throughout China, forming the fourth largest ethnic group in the country. They can be found in 31 Provinces of China. They also form the largest minority in China without an autonomous region. Liaoning Province has the largest number of Manchu individuals, about half the population, and Hebei, Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Beijing have more than 100,000 ethnic residents. There are some autonomous minority counties in China, such as Xinbin, Xiuyan, Qinglong, Fengning, Yitong, Qingyuan, Weichang, Kuancheng, Benxi, Kuandian, Huanren, Fengcheng, Beizhen, and more than 300 cities and districts.
Today, the Manchus have largely been assimilated by the Han, and the Manchu language is virtually extinct. They form one of the 56 nationalities officially recognized by the People”s Republic of China.
The ancestors of the Manchus can be traced back to the Sushen, recorded in ancient books of the pre-Qin period. They originated in the Heilongjiang River basin north of the Changbai Mountains and in the sea to the east. They are famous for their expertise in bow and arrow making. As early as the Shun period, they offered “Zhu Shi Shi Nie” to the Central Plains Dynasty. During the period of Zhou Wu, Cheng Wang and Kang Wang, the Sushen also sent things to congratulate him. Due to frequent contacts with the Central Plains Dynasty, people at that time believed that Sushen, Yan and Bo were the northern territory of the Zhou Dynasty.
The Manchus are descendants of the Jurchén people who previously established the Jin dynasty (1115-1234) in China. The name Mohe (靺 鞨) may refer to an ancestral population of the Manchus, since the Middle Chinese pronunciation of the word is reminiscent of Udege, a Tungusic people living in northern Manchuria. Sushen, on the other hand, possibly refers to Chukchee-related peoples of Far Eastern Siberia. The Mohe practiced pig raising extensively and were mainly sedentary, and also used pig and dog skins as coats. They were predominantly farmers and grew soybeans, wheat, millet, and rice, in addition to hunting.
In the 10th century, the term jurchén first appeared in documents from the late Tang dynasty in reference to the state of Balhae in present-day northeast China.
In 1019, Jurchen pirates invaded Japan in search of slaves. Only 270 or 259 Japanese in 8 ships were returned when Goryeo managed to intercept them. Jurchen pirates massacred Japanese while capturing Japanese women as prisoners. Fujiwara Notada, the Japanese governor was killed. In total, 1,280 Japanese were taken prisoner, 374 Japanese were killed, and 380 animals owned by Japanese were killed for food. Only 259 or 270 were returned by the Koreans from the 8 ships. The report of the Uchikura no Ishime woman was copied. Traumatic memories of the Jurchen attacks on Japan in the Toi invasion of 1019, the Mongol invasions of Japan, as well as Japan seeing the Jurchen as “barbarian” “Tartars” after copying China”s barbarian-civilized distinction, may have played a role in Japan”s antagonistic views against the Manchus and hostility toward them in later centuries, such as when the Tokugawa Ieyasu saw the unification of the Manchu tribes as a threat to Japan. The Japanese mistakenly thought that Hokkaido (Ezochi) had a land bridge to Tartary (Orankai) where the Manchus lived and thought that the Manchus might invade Japan. The Tokugawa Bakufu sent a message to Korea via Tsushima offering Korea help against the 1627 Manchu invasion of Korea. Korea refused.
After the fall of Balhae, the Jurchéns became vassals of the Liao dynasty led by the Quitals. The Jurchéns in the Yalu River region had been tributaries of Goryeo since the reign of Wang Geon, who summoned them during the wars of the Three Kingdoms period thereafter, but the Jurchéns switched allegiance between Liao and Goryeo several times, taking advantage of the tension between the two nations; posing a potential threat to the security of the Goryeo frontier, the Jurchéns offered homage to the Goryeo court, expecting generous gifts in return. Before the Jurchéns overthrew the quitals, married Jurchéns women and Jurchéns girls were raped by Liao Khitan envoys as a custom that caused resentment. Quital envoys among the jurchéns were treated like prostitutes by their jurchéns hosts. Unmarried girls of the jurchen and their families hosted Liao envoys who had sex with the girls. Music envoys among the Jin were similarly entertained by singing girls in Guide, Henan. The practice of guest prostitution – giving escorts, food, and shelter to guests – was common among the Jurchen. Unmarried daughters of lower- and middle-class Jurchen families in Jurchen villages were provided to quital messengers for sex, as recorded by Hong Hao. There is no evidence that the invited prostitution of unmarried Jurchen girls for quitals caused resentment by the Jurchens. It was only when aristocratic Jurchen families were forced to give up their beautiful wives as guest prostitutes for quital messengers that the Jurchens became enraged. This probably meant that only the husband had a right to a married wife, while among the lower-class Jurchéns, the virginity of unmarried girls and sex did not impede their ability to marry later. In the year 1114, Wanyan Aguda united the Jurchen tribes and established the Jin dynasty (1115-1234). His brother and successor, Wanyan Wuqimai, defeated the Liao dynasty. After the fall of the Liao dynasty, the Jurchens went to war with the Northern Song dynasty and captured most of northern China in the Jin-Song wars. During the Jin dynasty, the first jurchén writing came into use in the 1120s. It was mainly derived from Khitana writing.
The Jurchens were sedentary, settled farmers with advanced agriculture. They grew grain and corn as their grain crops, cultivated flax, and raised oxen, pigs, sheep, and horses. Their agricultural way of life was very different from the pastoral nomadism of the Mongols and Khitans in the steppes.
In 1206, the Mongols, vassals of the Jurchens, revolted in Mongolia. Their leader, Genghis Khan, led the Mongol troops against the Jurchens, who were finally defeated by Ögedei Khan in 1234. The daughter of the Jurchen emperor Jin Wanyan Yongji, the Jurchen princess Qiguo was married to the Mongol leader Genghis Khan in exchange for relieving the Mongol siege on Zhongdu (Beijing) in the Mongol conquest of the Jin dynasty. Under Mongol control, the Jurchens were divided into two groups and treated differently: those who were born and raised in northern China and fluent in Chinese were considered Chinese (Han), but people who were born and raised in the land of the Jurchens (Manchuria) with no Chinese language skills were treated politically as Mongol. From that time on, the Jurchens in northern China increasingly merged with the Han Chinese, while those who lived in their homeland began to be Mongolized. They adopted Mongolian customs and names and the Mongolian language. As time went on, fewer and fewer Jurchéns could recognize their own writing.
The Mongol-led Yuan dynasty was replaced by the Ming dynasty in 1368. In 1387, the Ming forces defeated the resistance forces of the Mongol commander Naghachu who settled in the Haixi area and began to summon the Jurchen tribes to pay tribute. At the time, some Jurchen clans were vassals of the Joseon dynasty of Korea, such as Odoli and Huligai. Their elites served in the Korean royal bodyguard.
The Korean Joseon tried to deal with the military threat posed by the Jurchens by using powerful means and incentives and by launching military attacks. At the same time, they tried to appease them with titles and degrees, to negotiate with them, and to seek to acculturate them by integrating the Jurchens into Korean culture. Despite these measures, however, fighting continued between the Jurchens and the Koreans. Their relationship was eventually broken off by the Ming dynasty government, who wanted the Jurchens to protect the border. In 1403, Ahacu, chief of Huligai, paid homage to Emperor Yongle of the Ming dynasty. Soon after that, Möngke Temür, head of the Odoli clan of the Jianzhou jurchéns, abandoned tribute to Korea, becoming a tributary state of China. Yi Seong-gye, the Taejo of Joseon, asked the Ming Empire to send Möngke Temür back, but was refused. The Yongle Emperor was determined to take the Jurches away from Korean influence and have China dominate them. Korea tried to persuade Möngke Temür to reject the Ming overtures, but was unsuccessful, and Möngke Temür submitted to the Ming Empire. Since then, more and more Jurchen tribes paid homage to the Ming Empire in succession. The Ming divided them into 384 guards, and the Jurchens became vassals of the Ming Empire. During the Ming dynasty, the name of the jurchén land was Nurgan. The Jurchens became part of the Nurgan Regional Military Commission of the Ming dynasty under the Yongle emperor, with the Ming forces erecting the Yongning Temple Stela in 1413 at Nurgan headquarters. The stele was inscribed in Chinese, Jurchen, Mongolian and Tibetan. Yishiha, who was a jurchén eunuch slave in the Ming imperial palace after being captured and castrated as a boy by Ming Chinese forces, was the one who led the Ming expedition to Nurgan to erect the stele and establish the Nurgan Regional Military Commission.
In 1449, Mongol taishi Esen attacked the Ming Empire and captured Emperor Zhengtong in Tumu. Some Jurchen guards in Jianzhou and Haixi cooperated with Esen”s action, but more were attacked in the Mongol invasion. Many Jurchen chiefs lost their hereditary certificates granted by the Ming government. They had to submit tribute as secretaries (中書舍人) with less reward from the Ming court than at the time when they were chief guards-an unpopular development. Later, more and more Jurchens recognized the declining power of the Ming Empire due to the Esen invasion. The capture of Emperor Zhengtong directly caused the Jurchen guards to spin out of control. Tribal leaders, such as Cungšan and Wang Gao, brazenly plundered Ming territory. Around this time, the Jurchen script was officially abandoned. More Jurchens adopted Mongolian as their writing language and fewer used Chinese. The last recorded Jurchen writing dates back to 1526.
The Manchus are sometimes mistakenly identified as nomadic. The Manchu way of life (economy) was agricultural, growing crops and raising animals on farms. Manchus practiced slash-and-burn agriculture in the areas north of Shenyang. The Haixi jurchéns were “semi-agricultural, the Jianzhou jurchéns and the Maolians (毛 憐). The Jurchéns were sedentary, while hunting and fishing were the lifestyle of the “wild Jurchéns.” Han Chinese society resembled that of the sedentary Jianzhous and Maolians, who were farmers. Hunting, horseback archery, horseback riding, cattle raising, and sedentary farming were all part of the jianzhou jurch culture. Although the Manchus practiced horseback riding and archery, their immediate progenitors practiced sedentary farming. The Manchus also practiced hunting, but were sedentary. Their main mode of production was agriculture, while they lived in villages, forts and walls. Their predecessors, the Jurchens and Jin, also practiced agriculture.
Only the Mongols and the “wild” northern Jurchens were semi-nomadic, unlike the Jianzhou Jurchens, descendants of the Jin dynasty, who were farmers who foraged, hunted, herded, and harvested in the Liao and Yalu river basins. They collected ginseng root, pine nuts, hunted pels in the highlands and forests, raised horses in their stables, and grew corn and wheat in their fallow fields. They engaged in dancing, wrestling, and drinking strong drinks, as observed during mid-winter by Korean Sin Chung-il when it was very cold. These Jurchen, who lived in the cold and harsh climate of the northeast, sometimes buried their houses in the ground which they built of brick or wood and surrounded their fortified villages with stone foundations on which they built wicker and mud walls to defend themselves against attacks. The clusters of villages were ruled by the beile, hereditary leaders. They fought among themselves and distributed weapons, women, slaves and land to their followers in them. This is how the Jurches who founded the Qing dynasty lived, and how their ancestors lived before the Jin. Alongside the Mongol and Jurch clans, there were migrants from Liaodong provinces in Ming China and from Korea, living among these Jurch clans in a cosmopolitan way. Nurhachi, who hosted Sin Chung-il, was uniting them all into his own army, making them adopt the jurchen hairstyle of a long row and a shaved front crown, and wearing leather tunics. Their armies had black, blue, red, white and yellow flags. These became the Eight Flags, which would be a part of the Qing dynasty army, initially limited to 4 and then growing to 8 with three different types of ethnic banners as Han, Mongol and Jurchen were recruited into the Nurhachi forces. The Jurchéns like Nurhaci spoke their native Tungusic language and Chinese, adopting Mongolian writing in their own language, as opposed to the Quital-derived writing of the Jin Jurchés. They adopted Confucian values and practiced their shamanic traditions.
The Qing dynasty put the Warka “New Manchus” foragers in Ningguta and tried to turn them into normal agricultural farmers, but then the Warka simply went back to gathering hunters and asking for money to buy cattle for broth. The Qing dynasty wanted the Warka to become soldier-farmers and imposed this on them, but the Warka simply left their garrison in Ningguta and returned to the Sungari River to their homes for herding, fishing and hunting. The Qing dynasty accused them of desertion.
Manchurian Government over China
A century after chaos began in the Jurchen lands, Nurhachi, a chief of the Jianzhou Left Guard, began a campaign against the Ming Empire in revenge for the murder of his grandfather and father in 1583. He reunified the Jurchen tribes, established a military system called the “Eight Flags,” which organized the Jurchen soldiers into groups of “Banners,” and ordered his scholar Erdeni and minister Gagai to create a new Jurchen script (later known as Manchu script) using the traditional Mongolian alphabet as a reference.
When the Jurchen were reorganized by Nurhachi in the Eight Flags, many Manchu clans were artificially created as a group of unrelated people found a new Manchu clan (mukun) using a name of geographical origin as a toponym for their hala (clan name). The irregularities about the origin of the Jurchén and Manchu clans led the Qing dynasty to attempt to document and systematize the creation of stories for the Manchurian clans, including the fabrication of an entire legend around the origin of the Aisin Gioro clan taking on northeastern mythology.
In 1603, Nurhachi gained recognition as the Sure Kundulen Khan (Abkai: sure kundulen han, “wise and respected dog”) of his Khalkha Mongol allies; then, in 1616, he publicly enthroned himself and issued a proclamation naming himself Genggiyen Khan (Abkai: genggiyen han, “brilliant dog”) of the Later Jin dynasty (Abkai: aisin gurun, 後 金). Nurhachi then launched his attack on the Ming dynasty and moved the capital to Mukden after his conquest of Liaodong. In 1635, his son and successor Huangtaiji changed the name of the Jurchen ethnic group (Abkai: juxen) to Manchu. A year later, Huangtaiji proclaimed himself emperor of the Qing dynasty (Abkai: daiqing gurun). Factors for the name change of these people from Jurchen to Manchu include the fact that the term “Jurchen” had negative connotations, since the Jurchen had been in a servile position to the Ming dynasty for several hundred years, and also referred to people of the “dependent class.
In 1644, the capital of the Ming dynasty, Beijing, was sacked by a peasant revolt led by Li Zicheng, a former Ming dynasty official who became the leader of the peasant revolt, which then proclaimed the establishment of the Shun dynasty. The last ruler of the Ming dynasty, Emperor Chongzhen, committed suicide by hanging himself when the city fell. When Li Zicheng moved against the Ming dynasty general Wu Sangui, the latter made an alliance with the Manchus and opened the Shanhai pass to the Manchu army. After the Manchus defeated Li Zicheng, they moved the capital of their new Qing Empire to Beijing (Abkai: beging
The Qing dynasty government differentiated between Han bannermen and ordinary Han civilians. Han bannermen were Chinese who defected to the Qing Empire by 1644 and joined the Eight Flags, giving them social and legal privileges as well as being acculturated to Manchu culture. So many Han defected to the Qing Empire and swelled the ranks of the Eight Flags that the ethnic Manchus became a minority within the Flagships, making up only 16% in 1648, with Han Flagships dominating with 75% and Mongolian Flagships being the remainder. It was this multi-ethnic force of Han majority in which the Manchus were a minority, that conquered China for the Qing Empire.
A mass marriage of Han Chinese officers and officials to Manchurian women was arranged to balance the large number of Han women entering the Manchurian court as courtesans, concubines, and wives. These couples were arranged by Prince Yoto and Huang-Taiji in 1632 to promote harmony between the two ethnic groups. Also to promote ethnic harmony, a 1648 decree by Emperor Shunzhi allowed Han Chinese civilian men to marry Manchu women of the banners with the permission of the Revenue Council if they were registered daughters of officials or commoners or with the permission of the captain of their banner company if they were unregistered commoners. It was only later in the dynasty that these policies allowing mixed marriages were abolished.
The name change from Jurchen to Manchu was done to hide the fact that the ancestors of the Manchus, the Jianzhou Jurchen, had been ruled by the Chinese. The Qing dynasty carefully hid the two original editions of the books “Qing Taizu Wu Huangdi Shilu” and “Manzhou Shilu Tu” (Taizu Shilu Tu) in the Qing palace, forbidden from public view because they showed that the Manchu family Aisin Gioro had been ruled by the Ming dynasty. In the Ming period, the Koreans of the Joseon dynasty referred to the lands inhabited by the Jurchen to the north of the Korean peninsula, above the Yalu and Tumen rivers, as part of Ming China, as the “upper country” (sangguk) which they called Ming China. The Qing dynasty deliberately excluded references and information showing the Jurches (Manchus) as subservient to the Ming dynasty, from the History of the Ming dynasty to hide their former subservient relationship to the Ming dynasty. The Veritable Records of Ming were not used to provide content about the Jurchens during Ming dynasty rule in Ming dynasty history because of this.
As a result of the conquest of China, almost all of the Manchus followed the Prince Regent Dorgon and Emperor Shunzhi to Beijing and settled there. Some of them were sent to other places, such as Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet to serve as garrison troops. There were only 1524 banners left in Manchuria at the time of the initial Manchurian conquest. After a series of border conflicts with the Russians, the emperors of the Qing dynasty began to realize the strategic importance of Manchuria and gradually sent the Manchurians back to where they originally came from. But throughout the Qing dynasty, Beijing was the focal point of the Manchurian rulers in the political, economic, and cultural spheres. Emperor Yongzheng observed, “Garrisons are the sites of stationed works, Beijing is their homeland.”
As the Manchurian ruling elite in the Qing imperial court in Beijing and positions of authority throughout China increasingly adopted Han culture, the Qing imperial government saw the Manchurian communities (as well as those of various tribal peoples) in Manchuria as a place where traditional Manchurian virtues could be preserved and as a vital reservoir of military manpower fully dedicated to the regime. The emperors of the Qing dynasty tried to protect the traditional Manchurian way of life (as well as that of various other tribal peoples) in central and northern Manchuria by various means. In particular, they restricted the migration of Han settlers into the region. This had to be balanced with practical needs, such as maintaining the defense of northern China against the Russians and Mongols, providing the government farms with a skilled labor force, and conducting trade in the region”s products, which resulted in a continuous flow of Han convicts, laborers, and traders to the northeast.
Cross-border Han Chinese and other people of non-Jurchen origin who joined the Later Jin were placed in the Manchurian flags and were known as “Baisin” in Manchu, and not placed in the Han banners in which the Later Han Chinese were placed. One example was the Tokoro Manchurian clan in the Manchurian Flags, which claimed to be descended from a Han Chinese with the surname Tao who moved north from Zhejiang to Liaodong and joined the Jurches before the Qing dynasty in the era of the Ming Wanli dynasty emperor. The Tong 佟 clan of the Han Chinese flag of Fushun in Liaoning falsely claimed to be related to the Tunggiya 佟 佳 Manchu jurchén clan of Jilin, using this false claim to obtain their transfer to a Manchu flag in the reign of the Kangxi emperor.
Selected groups of Han Chinese banners were transferred en masse to Manchu banners by the Qing dynasty, changing their ethnicity from Han Chinese to Manchu. Han Chinese banners of Tai Nikan 台 尼堪 (Chinese checkpoint) and Fusi Nikan 撫順 尼堪 (Chinese of Fushun) originated on the Manchurian banners in 1740 by order of the Qianlong emperor. It was between 1618-1629 when the Han Chinese of Liaotum, who later became the Fushun Nikan and Tai Nikan, defected to the Jurchens (Manchus). These Manchu clans of Han Chinese origin continue to use their original Han surnames and are marked as being of Han origin in the Qing dynasty lists of Manchu clans. The Fushun Nikan became Manchurianized and the originally Han banner families of Wang Shixuan, Cai Yurong, Zu Dashou, Li Yongfang, Shi Tingzhu and Shang Kexi intermarried extensively with Manchurian families.
Manchu families adopted Han Chinese children from Booi Aha (baoyi) servant origin families and served on the Manchu company records as independent Manchu families and the Qing imperial court discovered this in 1729. Manchu flags who needed money helped falsify the record of Han Chinese serfs being adopted by the Manchu banners and Manchu families who had no children were allowed to adopt the children of their serfs or the serfs themselves. Manchu families were paid to adopt Han Chinese children from servant families by these families. The captain of the Qing Imperial Guard, Batu, was furious with the Manchus who adopted Han Chinese as children of slave and serf families in exchange for money and expressed his displeasure that they adopted Han Chinese instead of other Manchus. These Han Chinese who infiltrated the Manchurian flags by adoption were known as “secondary status banners” and “false Manchurians” or “separately registered Manchurians,” and eventually there were so many of these Han Chinese who took military positions in the banners that should have been reserved for Manchurians. The Han Chinese adopted sons and separate registration banners numbered 800 of the 1,600 soldiers in the Mongol and Manchurian banners in Hangzhou in 1740, which was almost 50%. Han Chinese adopted sons accounted for 220 of the 1 600 non-salaried soldiers in Jingzhou in 1747 and a variety of Chinese separate-register, Mongolian and Manchurian ensigns were the remainder. The secondary Han Chinese banners represented 180 of the 3 600 soldier families in Ningxia, while the separate registry Han Chinese represented 380 of the 2 700 Manchurian soldiers in Liangzhou. The result of these fake Manchus who were Han Chinese taking military positions resulted in many legitimate Manchus being deprived of their legitimate positions as soldiers in the banner armies, resulting in real Manchus unable to receive their salaries because Han Chinese infiltrators in the banners stole their social and economic rights. These infiltrating Han Chinese were said to be good military troops, and their marching and archery skills were sufficient that Lieutenant General Zhapu could not differentiate them from the real Manchus in terms of military skills. The Manchurian Flags contained many “false Manchurians” from Han Chinese civilian families, but they were adopted by Manchurian Flags after Yongzheng”s reign. The Mongol banners of Jingkou and Jiangning and Manchus had 1,795 adopted Han Chinese and 2,400 of the Beijing Mongol banners adopted Han Chinese in the 1821 census statistics. Despite attempts by the Qing dynasty to differentiate the adopted Han Chinese from the regular Manchurian Banners, the differences between them became blurred. Those adopted Han Chinese servants who managed to place themselves in Manchu banner roles were called kaihu ren (開戶 人) in Chinese and dangse faksalaha urse in Manchu. Regular Manchus were called jingkini Manjusa.
A Manchurian standard-bearer in Guangzhou named Hequan illegally adopted a Han Chinese named Zhao Tinglu, son of the former Han standard-bearer Zhao Quan, gave him a new name, Quanheng so that he could benefit from his adopted son receiving a salary as a standard-bearer soldier.
The ordinary Manchurian Flags who were not of the nobility were called irgen, meaning common, in contrast to the Manchurian nobility of the “Eight Great Houses” who held titles of nobility.
This policy of artificially isolating the northeastern Manchus from the rest of China would not last forever. In the 1850s, large numbers of Manchurian banners were sent to central China to fight the Taiping rebels. (For example, Heilongjiang province alone – which at the time included only the northern part of present-day Heilongjiang – contributed 67,730 banners to the campaign, of which only 10-20% survived.) The few who returned were demoralized and often disposed to opium addiction. In 1860, following the loss of “Outer Manchuria” and with the imperial and provincial governments in serious financial trouble, parts of Manchuria became officially open to Chinese settlement; within a few decades, Manchurians became a minority in most districts of Manchuria.
Dulimbai Gurun (”Middle Kingdom”). After conquering the Ming dynasty, the rulers of the Qing dynasty usually referred to their state as the “Great Qing” (大 清), or Gurun Daicing in Manchu. In some documents, the state, or parts of it, is called “China” (Zhongguo) or “Dulimbai Gurun” in the Manchu language. Debate continues over whether the Qing dynasty equated the lands of the Qing state, including present-day Manchuria, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Tibet, and other areas, with “China” in the Chinese and Manchu languages. Some scholars claim that the rulers of the Qing dynasty defined China as a multi-ethnic state, rejecting the idea that China meant only Han ethnic areas, proclaiming that Han and non-Han peoples were part of “China,” using “China” to refer to the Qing dynasty in official documents, international treaties, and foreign relations, and the term “Chinese people” (Manchu: ᡩᡠᠯᡳᠮᠪᠠᡳ ᡤᡠᡵᡠᠨ ᡳ ᠨᡳᠶᠠᠯᠮᠠ Dulimbai gurun-i niyalma) refers to all subjects to the Han, Manchus and Mongols of the Qing Empire.
When the Qing Empire conquered Dzungaria in 1759, it proclaimed that the new land was absorbed into “China” (Dulimbai Gurun in Manchu) in a memorial in the Manchu language. The Qing dynasty government expounded in its ideology, was reuniting the “external” non-Han Chinese, such as the Inner Mongols, Eastern Mongols, Oirates and Tibetans, with the “internal” Han Chinese into a united “family” in the Qing state. The Qing government used the phrase “Zhongwai yijia” 中外 一家 or “neiwai yijia” 內外 一家 (“inner and outer as one family”) to convey this idea of unifying the different peoples of their empire. A Manchu version of a treaty with the Russian Empire concerning criminal jurisdiction over bandits called the people of the Qing Empire the “people of the Central Kingdom (Dulimbai Gurun).” In Tulišen”s official Manchu account of his meeting with Torghut leader Ayuka Khan, it was mentioned that although the Torghuts were different from the Russians, the “people of the Central Kingdom” (“people of the Central Kingdom” meant Manchus.
It was possible for Han banners and Gan (booi) servants to become Manchurian by being transferred to the top three Manchurian Banners and having their surname “Manchuficated” with the addition of a “giya” (”flag raising”) in Chinese. This usually occurred in cases of mixed marriage with the Aisin Gioro clan (close relatives (parents and siblings) of concubine or empress would be promoted from the Han banners to the Manchurian banners and become Manchurian.
Many Manchurian flag soldiers in Beijing supported the Boxers in the Boxer Rebellion and shared their anti-foreigner sentiment. The Manchurian Flags were devastated by the fighting during the First Sino-Japanese War and the Boxer Rebellion, suffering heavy casualties during the wars and subsequently being driven to extreme suffering. Much of the fighting in the Boxer Rebellion against foreigners in defense of Beijing and Manchuria was done by Manchurian flag armies, which were destroyed while resisting invasion. German Minister Clemens von Ketteler was assassinated by a Manchurian. Thousands of Manchus fled south of Aigun during the fighting in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, their cattle and horses were stolen by Russian Cossacks who razed their villages and homes. The clan system of the Manchus in Aigun was destroyed by the spoliation of the area at the hands of the Russian invaders.
In the 19th century, most Manchus in the city garrison spoke only Mandarin, not Manchu, which still distinguished them from their Han neighbors in southern China, who spoke non-Mandarin dialects. The fact that they spoke the Beijing dialect made recognizing Manchus relatively easy. It was standard northern Chinese that the Manchurian Flags spoke rather than the local dialect that the Han people around the garrison spoke, so the Manchurians in the Jingzhou and Guangzhou garrisons spoke Mandarin, although Cantonese was spoken in Guangzhou, and the Peking dialect distinguished the Manchurian Flags in the Xi”an garrison from others. Many Manchurian Flags got jobs as Mandarin teachers, writing books for learning Mandarin and instructing people in Mandarin. In Guangdong, Manchu Mandarin teacher Sun Yizun reported that the Yinyun Chanwei and Kangxi Zidian dictionaries, published by the Qing government, were the correct guides for the pronunciation of Mandarin, rather than the pronunciation of the Beijing and Nanjing dialects. To teach the Peking dialect, Kyugaigo, the Japanese foreign language school, hired a Manchu in 1876.
In the late 19th century and early 1900s, mixed marriages between Manchurian flagships and the Han in the northeast increased, as Manchurian families were more willing to marry their daughters to sons of wealthy Han families to exchange their ethnic status for a higher financial status.
Han Chinese Li Guojie, Li Hongzhang”s grandson, married a Manchu woman from Natong (那 桐), the Grand Secretary (大學 士). Most mixed marriages consisted of Han bannermen marrying Manchus in areas like Aihun. Han Chinese banners were marrying Manchus and there was no law against it. Two of Han Chinese general Yuan Shikai”s sons married Manchurian women, his sons Yuan Kequan 克 權 married one of Manchu officer Duanfang”s daughters and Yuan Kexiang 克 相 married one of Manchu officer Natong”s daughters, and one of his daughters married a Manchu man, Yuan Fuzhen (複禎) marrying one of Manchu officer Yinchang”s sons.
As the end of the Qing dynasty approached, the Manchus were treated as alien colonizers by Chinese nationalists like Sun Yat-sen, although the republican revolution he brought about was supported by many reform-minded Manchurian officers and military officials. This portrayal dissipated somewhat after the 1911 revolution, when the new Republic of China now sought to include Manchusians in its national identity. To blend in, some Manchus began to speak the local dialect instead of standard Chinese.
In the early years of the Republic of China, very few areas of China still had traditional Manchurian populations. Among the few regions where these comparatively traditional communities could be found, and where the Manchurian language was still widely spoken, were Aigun (Möllendorff: cicigar; Abkai: qiqigar) District of Heilongjiang Province.
Until 1924, the Chinese government continued to pay stipends to Manchurian flags, but many cut their ties to their banners and assumed Han-style names to avoid persecution. The official Manchurian total fell by more than half during this period, as they refused to admit their ethnicity when questioned by government officials or other outsiders. On the other hand, in the reign of warlord Zhang Zuolin in Manchuria, much better treatment was reported. There was no particular persecution of the Manchus. Even the mausoleums of the Qing emperors could still be managed by Manchurian guards, as in the past. Many Manchus joined the Fengtian clique, such as Xi Qia, a member of the imperial clan of the Qing dynasty.
As a result of the Mukden Incident, Manchukuo, a puppet state in Manchuria, was created by the Empire of Japan, which was nominally ruled by the deposed Last Emperor, Pu Yi, in 1932. Although the name of the nation implied a primarily Manchurian affiliation, it was actually a completely new country for all ethnicities in Manchuria, which had a Han majority population and was fought by many Manchurians as well as people of other ethnicities who fought against Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese Ueda Kyōsuke labeled all 30 million people in Manchuria “Manchus,” including Han Chinese, even though most of them were not ethnically Manchurian, and the Japanese name “Great Manchukuo” was built on Ueda”s argument to claim that all 30 million “Manchus” in Manchukuo had the right to independence to justify Manchukuo”s separation from China. In 1942, the Japanese-written “Ten-Year History of the Construction of Manchukuo” attempted to emphasize the right of ethnic Japanese to the land of Manchukuo while attempting to delegitimize the Manchukus” claim for Manchukuo as their homeland, noting that most Manchukus moved away during the Qing dynasty and only returned later.
In 1952, after the failure of Manchukuo and the Nationalist Government (KMT), the newly born People”s Republic of China officially recognized the Manchu as one of the ethnic minorities in 1952, as Mao Zedong had criticized the Han chauvinism that dominated the KMT. In the 1953 census, 2.5 million people identified themselves as Manchu. The Communist government also tried to improve the treatment of the Manchu people; some Manchu people who had hidden their ancestry during the period of KMT rule were willing to reveal their ancestry, such as the writer Lao She, who began to include Manchurian characters in his works of fiction in the 1950s. Between 1982 and 1990, the official count of Manchu people more than doubled from 4,299,159 to 9,821,180, making them the fastest growing ethnic minority in China, but this growth was only on paper, as people previously registered as Han applied for official recognition as Manchu. Since the 1980s, thirteen Manchu autonomous counties have been created in Liaoning, Jilin, Hebei, and Heilongjiang.
The Eight Flags system is one of the most important ethnic identities of the Manchu people today. So, today, the Manchus are more like an ethnic coalition that not only contains the descendants of the Manchurian Flags, but also has a large number of Chinese and Mongolian banners assimilated by the Manchus. However, the Solon and Sibe banners that were considered part of the Eight Flags system under the Qing dynasty were registered as independent ethnic groups by the PRC government as Daur, Evenk, Nanai, Oroqen and Sibe.
Since the 1980s, the reform after the Cultural Revolution, there has been a revival of Manchu culture and language among government, academics, and social activities with notable achievements. It has also been reported that the resurgence of interest has also spread among Han Chinese. In modern China, Manchu culture and language preservation are promoted by the Communist Party of China, and the Manchus once again form one of China”s socioeconomically advanced minorities. Manchus generally face little or no discrimination in their daily lives; however, there is a lingering anti-Manchu sentiment among extreme Han nationalists. It is particularly common among Hanfu movement participants who subscribe to conspiracy theories about the Manchu people as the Chinese Communist Party being occupied by Manchurian elites, thus the better treatment Manchus receive in the People”s Republic of China in contrast to their persecution under the Republic of China government.
Most Manchus now live in Mainland China with a population of 10,410,585, which represents 9.28% of ethnic minorities and 0.77% of China”s total population. Among the provincial regions, there are two provinces, Liaoning and Hebei, which have more than 1 000 000 Manchu residents. Liaoning has 5 336 895 Manchu residents, which is 51.26% of the Manchu population and 12.20% of the provincial population; Hebei has 2 118 711, which is 20.35% of the Manchu population and 70.80% of the provincial ethnic minorities. Manchus are the largest ethnic minority in Liaoning, Hebei, Heilongjiang and Beijing; 2nd largest in Jilin, Inner Mongolia, Tianjin, Ningxia, Shaanxi and Shanxi and 3rd largest in Henan, Shandong and Anhui.
Manchus can be found outside of mainland China. There are approximately 12,000 Manchus now in Taiwan. Most of them moved to Taiwan with the ROC government in 1949. One notable example was Puru, a famous painter, calligrapher and also founder of the Manchu Association of the Republic of China. There are also Manchus who have settled in the United States. In the 2000 United States census, 379 Americans were of Manchu ancestry, such as the 33rd U.S. Army Judge Advocate General John Fugh.
The Jiu Manzhou Dang contains the earliest record of the use of the name Manchu. In any case, the actual etymology of the ethnic name “Manju” is debatable. According to the official historical record of the Qing Dynasty, the Research on the Origins of the Manchu, the ethnic name came from Mañjuśrī. The Qianlong Emperor also supported this viewpoint and even wrote several poems on the subject.
Meng Sen, a scholar of the Qing dynasty, agrees. On the other hand, he thought that the name “Manchu” may come from Li Manzhu (李滿住), the head of the Jianzhou Jurchéns group.
Another scholar, Chang Shan, believes that Manju is a compound word. “Man” coming from the word “mangga” (ᠮᠠᠩᡤᠠ), which means “strong” and “ju” (ᠵᡠ), which means arrow. So Manju actually means “intrepid arrow”.
There are other hypotheses, as stated in the works: “Jianzhou Etymology” by Fu Sinian; “Manshi Etymology” by Zhang Binglin; “Etymology of the Wuji and Mohe” by Isamura Sanjiro; “Etymology of Manzhe” Sun Wenliang; “Etymology of the mangu(n) River”, and others.
Influence on other Tungus peoples
The Manchus implemented measures to “Manchulize” the other Tungusic peoples who lived around the Amur River basin. The southern Tungusic Manchus influenced the northern Tungusic peoples linguistically, culturally, and religiously.
The Manchu language is a Tungus language and has many dialects. Its standard form is called standard Manchu. It originates from the accent of the Jianzhou jurches and was officially standardized during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. During the Qing dynasty, Manchus in the imperial court were required to speak standard Manchu or they would face reprimand from the emperor. This applied equally to the palace priest for shamanic rites when performing sacrifices.
The “Beijing dialect” is one of the most commonly used. It was a mixture of several dialects, since the Manchus living in Beijing were not only Jianzhou Jurchens, but also Haixi Jurchens and Yeren Jurchens. Over time, the mixing of their accents produced the Beijing dialect (京 语). The Peking dialect is very close to standard Manchu. Mukden dialect, also known as Southern Manchu Mukden dialect (盛京南 满 语) or Mukden-Girin dialect (盛京吉 林 语), is another popular dialect that was originally spoken by Manchus living in Liaoning and the western and southern areas of Jilin, with an accent very close to the Xibe language spoken by the Xibes living in Qapqal. Other dialects include Ningguta and Alcuka.
The language belongs to the Tungusic family. Because it was the national language of the Qing Dynasty, it was also called “Qingyu”. The standard language of Manchu is called the “normative language,” which originated from the Jianzhou accent before it entered customs. It was standardized by Gaozong of the Qing Dynasty during the Qianlong period, so it was also called “New Kingding Qingyu”. During the Qing Dynasty, when the Manchus saw the emperor report resumes, memorials, and answer questions, they must use the standard language. If there is a mistake in execution, you will be reprimanded by the emperor. The greetings used by the shamans in Kunning and Tangzi Palace must also use the standard language. In addition, the Manchu people have many dialects due to the differences in their places of residence, such as Beijing, Shengjing, Ningguta, Alchuka, and other dialects.
The predecessors of the Manchus, the Jurchens, created Jurchen writing, which was popular during the Jin Dynasty. However, due to the high Sinicization of the Jurchens in the central plains in the late Jin Dynasty and the Mongolianization of the Jurchens in the northeast in the Yuan Dynasty, Jurchen writing was lost in the middle and late Ming Dynasty.
This persisted until Nurhaci revolted against the Ming Empire. Nurhaci considered it a great impediment that his people had no writing of their own, so he ordered his scholars, Gagai and Eldeni, to create an alphabet adapted from Mongolian writing. They carried out the order of the kan and created the Manchu writing (无 圈点 满 文). Because it was hastily created, the writing has its flaws. Some vowels and consonants were difficult to distinguish. Soon after, his successor Dahai used dots and circles to distinguish vowels, aspirated and unaspirated consonants.
After the 19th century, most Manchus had perfected Standard Chinese and the number of Manchu speakers was decreasing. Although the Qing emperors emphasized the importance of the Manchu language repeatedly, the tide could not be turned. After the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the Manchu language lost its status as a national language and its official use in education ended. Today, Manchu people generally speak Standard Chinese. The remaining qualified native Manchu speakers number less than 100, most of whom are found in Sanjiazi (Abkai: ilan bou), Heilongjiang province. Since the 1980s, there has been a resurgence of the Manchu language among government, academics, and social activities. In recent years, with the help of the governments in Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, many schools have started to have Manchu classes. There are also Manchu volunteers in many places in China who teach Manchu for free in the desire to rescue the language. Thousands of non-Manchu people have learned the language through these platforms.
Today, in an effort to save Manchu culture from extinction, the older generation of Manchus are spending their own money and time to teach the young. In an effort to encourage the students, these classes were often free. They teach over the Internet and even send Manchu books for free, all for the purpose of protecting national cultural traditions.
The Manchus are a people who pay great attention to etiquette. There are kowtows. Manchus pay great attention to rituals. Manchus are very respectful of elders and always greet them. The elders do not sit down unless they have permission to sit down. When guests arrive, the younger generation of the family personally receives the guests and does the housework. People encountering seniors must make way, and only after they have passed may they walk. These rules of etiquette are still common in Manchurian villages. In addition, the Manchus also respect dogs and crows, do not kill dogs, do not eat dog meat, and do not use dog skin products.
The Qing dynasty is mistakenly mistaken as a nomadic empire by people who mistakenly think that the Manchus were a nomadic people, when in fact the Manchus were a sedentary agricultural people who lived in fixed villages, grew crops, practiced hunting, and mounted archery.
The sedentary Tungusic farming lifestyle of the southern Manchus was very different from the nomadic, hunting, gathering, and foraging lifestyle of their northern Tungusic relatives like the Warka, who left the Qing dynasty to try to make them sedentary and farm like the Manchus.
In their traditional culture before the Qing dynasty, Manchu women originally had sexual autonomy, being able to have sex before marriage, be able to talk and mingle with men after they married without being suspected of infidelity, and remarry after they were widowed, but the Manchurian men later adopted the Han Chinese Confucian values and started killing their wives and daughters during the Qing dynasty for alleged infidelity due to talking to unrelated men during marriage or sex before marriage, and valuing the virginity and chastity of the widow like the Han Chinese. Compared to Han Chinese women, upper-class Manchurian women in the early Qing dynasty were comfortable talking to men.
Naming and naming practices
The history of the Manchurian family name is quite long. Fundamentally, it succeeds the family name jurchén of the Jin dynasty. However, after the Mongols extinguished the Jin dynasty, the Manchus began to adopt Mongol culture, including their custom of using only their baptismal name until the end of the Qing dynasty, a practice which confused non-Manchus, leading them to conclude: erroneously, that they simply don”t have family names.
A Manchu family name usually has two parts: the first is “Mukūn” (the second, “Hala” (ᡥᠠᠯᠠ), represents a person”s clan name. According to the Book of Eight Manchus Surname Clans (滿洲 氏族 通 譜), there are 1 114 Manchu surnames. Gūwalgiya, Niohuru, Hešeri, Šumulu, Tatara, Gioro, Nara are considered as “famous clans” (著 姓) among the Manchus.
There are stories of Han migrating to the Jurchen and assimilating into Manchu Jurchen society and Nikan Wailan may have been an example of this. The Manchu Cuigiya clan (崔佳氏) claimed that a Han Chinese founded their clan. The Tohoro clan (托 活络) (the clan of Duanfang) claimed Han Chinese origin.
The proper names of the Manchus are distinctive. Generally, there are various forms, such as bearing suffixes “-ngga”(having Mongolian style suffixes “-tai”(or animal names.
Some ethnic names can also be a proper name for the Manchus. One of the first common names for the Manchus is Nikan (Han Chinese). For example, Nikan Wailan was a Jurchén leader who was an enemy of Nurhaci. Nikan was also the name of one of Nurhaci”s Aisin Gioro princes and grandsons who supported Prince Dorgon. Nurhaci”s first son was Cuyen, one of whose sons was Nikan.
Manchus today use mostly Chinese names and families, but some still use a family name and Chinese first names, a Chinese family name and a Manchurian first name, or both family and Manchurian first names.
The octagonal drum is a type of Manchurian folk art very popular among the Manchurian Flags, especially in Beijing. It is said that the octagonal drum originated from the military box of the Eight Flags and the melody was made by the banner soldiers who were returning home after the victory in the battle of Jinchuan. The drum is made of wood surrounded by bells. The skin of the drum is made of wyrm skin with tassels on the bottom. The colors of the tassels are yellow, white, red, and blue, which represent the four colors of the Eight Flags. When performers perform, they use their fingers to tap the drum skin and swing it to ring the bells. Traditionally, the octagonal drum is performed by three people. One is the harpist; one is the clown responsible for the harlequin; and the third is the singer.
“Zidishu” is the main libretto of the octagonal drum and can be traced back to a type of traditional folk music called “Manchu Rhythm.” Although Zidishu was not created by Han Chinese, it still contains many themes from Chinese stories, such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dream of the Red Chamber, Romance of the Western Chamber, Legend of the White Snake, and Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. In addition, there are many works depicting the lives of the bannermen. Aisin Gioro Yigeng, who was named “Helü” and wrote the sigh of the old imperial bodyguard, as the representative author. Zidishu involves two acts of singing, which are called dongcheng and xicheng.
After the fall of the Qing dynasty, the influence of the octagonal drum gradually declined. However, the Chinese monochord that are derived from the octagonal are still popular in Chinese society and the younger generations. Many famous Chinese monochord musicians and crosstalkers were octagonal drum performers, such as De Shoushan and Zhang Sanlu.
Ulabun (᠋᠋᠌᠋᠋ᡠᠯᠠᠪᡠᠨ) is a form of entertainment told in Manchurian that is performed in the Manchurian language. Unlike the octagonal drum, the ulabun is popular among the Manchu people living in Manchuria. It has two main categories; one is folk literature such as the Nisan Shaman”s Tale, the other is folk music with an informative and independent plot and complete structure. Song Xidong also known as Akšan
Originally, the Manchus and their predecessors were primarily Buddhists with shamanic influences. Every Manchu King began his royal title with Buddha. After the conquest of China in the 17th century, the Manchus came into contact with Chinese culture. They adopted Confucianism along with Buddhism and discouraged shamanism.
Shamanism has a long history in the Manchu civilization and has influenced it tremendously over thousands of years. John Keay states in A History of China, shaman is the only word borrowed from Manchu into English. After the conquest of China in the 17th century, although the Manchu officially adopted Buddhism and largely adopted Chinese folk religion, shamanic traditions can still be found in the aspects of soul worship, worship of totems, belief in nightmares, and apotheosis of philanthropists. Apart from the shamanic shrines in the Qing palace, no temple erected for the worship of the Manchurian gods could be found in Beijing. Thus, the story of competition between shamanists and lamaists was often heard in Manchuria, but the Manchurian emperors officially helped the lamaists or Tibetan Buddhists.
Jurchéns, the predecessors of the Manchus adopted the Buddhism of Balhae, Goryeo, Liao and Sung in the X-XIII centuries, so it was not something new to the nascent Manchus in the XVI-XVII centuries. The Qing emperors were always titled “Buddha.” They were considered Mañjuśrī in Tibetan Buddhism
Hung-Taiji, of Mongolian descent, began to lean toward Chan Buddhism, which became Zen Buddhism. Still, Huangtaiji sponsored Tibetan Buddhism extensively and publicly. Huangtaiji sponsored Buddhism, but sometimes felt that Tibetan Buddhism was inferior to Chan Buddhism.
Emperor Qianlong”s faith in Tibetan Buddhism was questioned recently because the emperor indicated that he supported the Yellow Church (the Tibetan Buddhist Gelukpa sect).
This explanation of supporting only the Tibetan Buddhist “Yellow Hats” for practical reasons was used to deflect Han criticism of this policy from the Qianlong emperor, who had the “Lama Shuo” stele engraved in Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu and Chinese, which read, “By sponsoring the Yellow Church, we maintain peace among the Mongols.” It seems that he was wary of the growing power of the Kingdom of Tibet and its influence over the Mongols and the Manchu public, princes and generals.
The Manchus were affected by Chinese folk religions during most of the Qing dynasty. Except for ancestor worship, the gods they enshrined were virtually identical to those of the Han Chinese. The worship of Guan Yu is a typical example. He was considered the Protector God of the Nation and was sincerely worshiped by Manchus. They called him “Lord Guan” (关 老爷). Pronouncing his name was taboo. In addition, Manchus worshiped Cai Shen and the God of Cooking, just as the Han Chinese did. The worship of Mongolian and Tibetan gods has also been reported.
Influenced by Jesuit missionaries in China, there were also a considerable number of Manchurian Catholics during the Qing dynasty. The first Manchurian Catholics appeared in the 1650s. In the Yongzheng, Depei eras, Prince Hošo Jiyan was a Catholic whose baptismal name was “Joseph.” His wife was also baptized and named “Mary”. At the same time, Doro Beile Sunu”s children were also devout Catholics. In the Jiaqing period, Tong Hengšan and Tong Lan were Manchu Catholic Bannermen. These Manchurian Catholics were proselytized and persecuted by the Qing emperors, but they steadfastly refused to renounce their faith. There were also Manchurian Catholics in modern times, such as Ying Lianzhi, the founder of Fu Jen Catholic University.
Traditional Manchu marriage is dominated by monogamy, but upper class has always been in the habit of polygamy. After the Qing Dynasty entered, polygamy gradually transitioned to the Han patriarchal system of polygamy and multiple concubines. Like the Han people, the Manchus also insist on not marrying people who have the same last name. Manchurian women have no feelings of attachment to men and have a greater right to speak in family life. Manchurian marriage customs are slightly different depending on the region.
Besides hawks, the Manchus also like to breed other birds, especially the Manchus jingqi as a typical example. In the Qing Dynasty, the Manchus jingqi people were very specific about bird breeding. By literary talent, they bred red and green parrots, tiger-skin parrots, hibiscus, jasper, pearls, etc.; there are thrushes, larks, reds, there are blacks, small yellow birds, and so on; there are also some dedicated to appreciating various skills, such as the phoenix, the cross-mouth, etc .; in addition, there are pigeon breeders, etc. Fighting crickets is also one of the entertainment activities widely enjoyed by Jingqi Manchus. During the Qing Dynasty, every summer and autumn, from the nobility to common children, they enjoyed it.
Traditional Manchurian houses are usually built facing the sun, mostly with a grass roof, with square chimneys rich in Manchurian features. There are generally two construction methods for the wall: ground construction and mud piling. Manchurian houses are more common in the west and less so in the south. The house is divided into three rooms: the upper house, the lower house, and the main house, with the door in the center and three windows on each side. In the yard, there are walls and posts. Some families also have flower gardens and octagonal pavilions.
Horseback riding and archery (Abkai: niyamniyan) are important to the Manchus. They were well-trained horsemen since their teenage years. Huang-taiji said, “Riding and archery are the most important martial arts in our country. Each generation of the Qing dynasty highly valued horsemanship and archery. Every spring and fall, from the ordinary Manchus to the aristocrats, everyone had to take riding and archery tests. The results of their tests could even affect their position in the nobility. The Manchus of the early Qing dynasty had excellent shooting skills and their arrows were considered capable of penetrating two people.
Starting in the middle period of the Qing dynasty, archery became more of a form of entertainment in the form of games like hunting swans, shooting cloth, or silk targets. The most difficult is shooting at a candle suspended in the air at night. The game was banned in the Qing dynasty, but there was no limitation on Manchus engaging in archery competitions. It was common to see Manchus placing signs in front of their houses to invite challenges. After the Qianlong period, the Manchus gradually neglected horseback riding and archery practices, although their rulers tried their best to encourage Manchus to continue their horseback riding and archery traditions, but the traditions are still maintained among some Manchus to this day.
Manchu wrestling (Abkai: buku) is also an important martial art of the Manchu people. Buku, which means “fight” or “man of unusual strength” in Manchu, was originally from a Mongolian word, “bökh.” The history of Manchu wrestling can be traced back to jurchén wrestling in the Jin dynasty, which was originally from chitai wrestling; it was very similar to Mongolian wrestling. In the Yuan dynasty, the Jurchen living in northeastern China adopted Mongolian culture, including wrestling, bökh. In the late Jin dynasty and early Qing period, the rulers encouraged the population, including the aristocrats, to practice buku as a feature of military training. At the time, Mongolian fighters were the most famous and powerful. By the Chongde period, the Manchus had developed their own well-trained fighters, and a century later, in the Qianlong period, they surpassed the Mongol fighters. The Qing court established the “Shan Pu Battalion” and chose 200 wrestlers who were generally excellent divided into three levels. The moves of Manchu wrestling can be found in today”s Chinese wrestling, shuai jiao. Among many branches, Beijing wrestling has adopted most of the Manchu wrestling moves.
As a result of their hunting ancestry, Manchus are traditionally interested in falconry. Gyrfalcon (Abkai: xongkoro) is the most valued discipline in the social circle of Manchurian falconry. In the Qing period, giving a gerifalte to the royal court in tribute could be received with considerable reward. There were professional falconers in the Ningguta area (now Heilongjiang province and northern part of Jilin province). It was a major falconry base. The Manchus of Beijing are also fond of falconry. Compared to Manchurian falconry, it is more like entertainment. The Beijing Imperial House Department also had professional falconers. They provided remarkable falcons for the emperor when he went hunting in the fall. Even today, traditional Manchurian falconry is well practiced in some regions.
Ice skating (Abkai: nisume efire efin) is another Manchurian pastime. The Qianlong emperor called it a “national custom.” It was one of the most important winter events of the Qing royal house.
In the 1930s-1940s, there was a famous Manchu skater in Beijing whose name was Wu Tongxuan, from the Uya clan and one of the royal house skaters in the regency of Empress Dowager Cixi. He often appeared on many of Beijing”s skating rinks. Today, Manchurian figure skaters still exist; world champions Zhao Hongbo and Tong Jian are preeminent examples.
The Manchus are a people who attach great importance to cultural education. Since the Qing Dynasty, in the context of the continuing development of the ethnic relationship between the Han and the Manchus, the Manchus” education and culture have also developed greatly. There was also the official school of the Eight Flags.
Since 1984, Manchus, like other ethnic minorities, can enjoy quotas at colleges, universities, and technical schools. This policy gives ethnic minority students more opportunities for further studies. All governments give Manchus the same preferential policies as other ethnic minorities.
The Manchus have many traditional holidays. Some are derived from Chinese culture, such as the “Spring Festival” Some are of Manchurian origin. For example, Banjin Inenggi (᠋᠋᠌᠋᠋ᠪᠠᠨᠵᡳᠨᡳᠨᡝᠩᡤᡳ), on the 13th day of the tenth month of the lunar calendar, is the anniversary of the creation of the Manchu name. On this day in 1635, Huang-Taiji changed the ethnic name from jurchén to manchu. The Food Extermination Day (绝 粮 日), every 26th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, is another example inspired by the story that Nurhachi and his troops were in a battle with enemies and almost out of food. Villagers living near the battlefield heard the emergency and came to help. There was no cutlery on the battlefield. They had to use perilla leaves to wrap the rice. Then they won the battle. So that later generations could remember this hardship, Nurhachi made this day the “Food Extermination Day.” Traditionally, on this day, the Manchu people eat perilla or cabbage wraps with rice, scrambled eggs, beef or pork.
The Jurchens and their Manchurian descendants originally practiced cremation as part of their culture. They adopted the burial practice of the Han Chinese, but many Manchus continued to cremate their dead. Princes were cremated on pyres.
The Tale of the Nisan Shaman (尼 山 萨满 传) is the most important piece of Manchurian literature. It mainly relates how the Nisan Shaman helps revive a young hunter. The story also spread to Xibe, Nanai, Daur, Oroqen, Evenk and other Tungusic peoples. It has four versions: the handwritten version by Qiqihar; two different calligraphy versions by Aigun; and that of the Manchu writer Dekdengge in Vladivostok (Abkai: haixenwei). All four versions are similar, but Haišenwei”s is the most complete. It has been translated into Russian, Chinese, English, and other languages.
There is also literature written in Chinese by Manchurian writers, such as The Tale of the Heroic Sons and Daughters (儿女 英雄 传), Song of Drinking Water (饮水 词) and The Tianyouge Collection (天 游 阁 集).
During the Qing dynasty, the literature of the Eight Flags was once prosperous. The poet Yuan Mei lamented, “Recently, Manchuria is elegant, much better than the Han people. Although he is an army, he cannot do poetry.” Therefore, many works in Chinese language and literature were born. Nalan Xingde”s poetry collection “Ci Drinking Water”, Gu Taiqing”s poetry collection “Tianyou Pavilion Collection”, the Eight Flags” poetry collection “Xi Chao Ya Song Ji” compiled by Tie Bao and Wen Kang”s novel “The Biography of the Heroes of Sons and Daughters” as typical representatives.
A common misconception among ethnic Han Chinese was that Manchurian clothing was totally separate from Hanfu clothing. In fact, Manchu clothes were simply modified by the Hanfu Ming, but the Manchus promoted the misconception that their clothes were of different origin. The Manchus originally did not have their own cloths or textiles and had to obtain clothes and dragon robes from the Ming dynasty when they paid tribute to the Ming empire or traded with the Ming dynasty. These Ming dynasty robes were modified, cut and adjusted to be narrow at the sleeves and waist with slits in the skirt to make them suitable for falconry, horseback riding, and archery. The Ming dynasty robes were simply modified and changed for the Manchus, cutting them at the sleeves and waist to make them narrower around the arms and waist instead of wide and added a new narrow cuff to the sleeves. The new cuff was made of leather. The waist of the cloak jacket had a new strip of scrap cloth placed at the waist while the waist was adjusted with pleats at the top of the cloak skirt. The Manchus added sable skin skirts, cuffs and collars to the Ming dynasty dragon robes and trimmed the sable skin over them before wearing them. The Han Chinese court costume was modified by the Manchus with the addition of a large ceremonial necklace (da-ling) or shawl necklace (pijian-ling). It was mistakenly thought that the fur clothing of the Manchurian hunter ancestors became Qing dynasty clothing, due to the contrast between the Ming dynasty clothing and the straight length of unshaped fabric contrasting with the oddly shaped long pao and chao fu pieces of the Qing dynasty. Western scholars mistakenly thought that they were purely Manchurian. Chao fu robes from Ming dynasty tombs, such as Emperor Wanli”s tomb, were excavated and it was discovered that Qing dynasty chao fu were similar and derived from it. They had dragons embroidered or woven into them, but are different from the long pao dragon robes, which are a separate garment. Skirts decorated with zippers on the right side and tight bodices with dragon robes have been found in Beijing, Shanxi, Jiangxi, Jiangsu and Shandong tombs of Ming dynasty officials and members of the Ming imperial family. The integrated upper sleeves of the Ming dynasty chao fu had two pieces of cloth attached to the Qing dynasty chao fu, as did the chao fu of the earlier Ming dynasty, which had sleeve extensions with another piece of cloth attached to the integral upper sleeve of the bodice. Another separate type of Qing dynasty clothing, the long pao reminiscent of Yuan dynasty clothing, such as the robes found in the Shandong tomb of Li Youan during the Yuan dynasty. The Qing dynasty chao fu appears in official formal portraits, while the Ming dynasty chao fu, from which they derive, does not, perhaps indicating that Ming dynasty officials and the imperial family wore the chao fu under their formal robes, since they appear in Ming dynasty tombs but not in portraits. The Qing dynasty long pao were similar unofficial garments during the Qing dynasty. Yuan dynasty robes had widened hems and around the arms and torso were tight. Unofficial Qing dynasty clothes, long pao, derived from Yuan dynasty clothes, while official Qing dynasty clothes, chao fu, derived from unofficial Ming dynasty clothes, dragon robes. The Ming dynasty consciously modeled their clothes after the earlier Han Chinese dynasties, such as the Song dynasty, the Tang dynasty, and the Han dynasty. In the city of Nara, Japan, the Shosoin repository at Todaiji temple has 30 short coats (hanpi) from the Tang dynasty of China. The Ming dragon robes are derived from these Tang dynasty hanpi under construction. The hanpi skirt and bodice are made of different fabrics with different patterns and this is where the Qing dynasty chao fu originated. Cross-over fastenings are present on Hanpi and Ming garments. The variety of Shosoin Hanpi from the 8th century shows that it was in vogue at the time and most likely derived from much older clothing. The Han and Jin dynasty (266-420) era tombs at Yingban, to the Tianshan mountains south of Xinjiang, have clothing reminiscent of Qing dynasty long pao and Tang dynasty hanpi. Evidence from excavated tombs indicates that China had a long tradition of garments that led to the chao fu of the Qing dynasty and was not invented or introduced by Manchus in the Qing dynasty or Mongols in the Yuan dynasty. The Ming robes from which Qing chao fu was derived were not used in official portraits and paintings, but were considered high status to be buried in tombs. In some cases, the Qing dynasty went beyond the Ming dynasty by imitating ancient China to show legitimacy with the resurrection of ancient Chinese rituals to claim the Mandate of Heaven dep
The Spencer Art Museum has six long pao robes that belonged to the Han Chinese nobility of the Qing dynasty (Chinese nobility). The senior officials and Han Chinese nobles had two slits in their skirts, while the Manchurian nobles and the imperial family had 4 slits in their skirts. All first, second and third rank officials, as well as Han and Manchu Chinese nobles, had the right to wear 9 dragons by the Illustrated Precedents of the Qing dynasty. The sumptuary laws of the Qing dynasty allowed only four clawed dragons for officials, Han Chinese nobles and Manchurian nobles, while the Qing imperial family, emperor and princes up to the second degree and their female families had the right to wear five clawed dragons. However, officials violated these laws all the time and wore five dragons with claws, and the 6 long pao from the Spencer Museum worn by Han Chinese nobles have five dragons with claws on them.
The early phase of Manchu clothing came from the Jurchén tradition. White was the dominant color. To facilitate convenience during archery, the cloak is the most common piece of clothing for the Manchu people. Over the cloak, an overcoat is usually worn, derived from the military uniform of the Eight Flags army. During the Kangxi period, the cloak gained popularity among commoners. Modern Chinese suits, the Cheongsam and the Tangzhuang, are derivatives of the Manchu cloak that are commonly considered “Chinese elements.”
Wearing hats is also part of traditional Manchurian culture, and Manchus wear hats at all ages and seasons, in contrast to the Han Chinese culture of “starting to wear hats at 20” (二十 始 冠) . Manchus hats are either formal or casual, formal hats being made in two different styles, straw for spring and summer and fur for fall and winter. Casual hats are more commonly known as “Mandarin hats” in English.
Manchus have many distinctive traditional accessories. Women traditionally wear three earrings in each ear, a tradition that is carried on by many older Manchurian women. Men also often wear piercings, but tend to have only one earring in their youth and do not continue to wear them as adults. The Manchu people also have traditional jewelry that evokes their past as hunters. The fergetun (᠋᠋᠌᠋᠋ᡶᡝᡵᡤᡝᡨᡠᠨ), a thumb ring traditionally made from reindeer bone, was worn to protect the thumbs of archers. After the establishment of the Qing dynasty in 1644, the fergetun gradually became simply a form of jewelry, with the most valuable ones made of jade and ivory. High-heeled shoes were worn by Manchurian women.
The traditional hairstyle for Manchurian men is to shave the front of the head while growing the hair from the back of the neck into a single braid called a queue (biànzi), which was known as soncoho(᠋᠋᠌᠋᠋ᠰᠣᠨᠴᠣᡥᠣ) in Manchu.
Manchurian women wore their hair in a distinctive hairstyle called liangbatou (兩 把頭).
Peking opera is considered the quintessence of China. It incorporates the characteristics of Hui Opera and other traditional types of music, and gradually formed an independent popular art form in the Qing Dynasty. At that time, people close to the emperor and ordinary vassals often had a special taste for Peking Opera.
- Manchu people
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