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1. definitions decide what you will find historically defined group (descending from Coxinga/Ming loyalists/etc.) type: organized ethnically Chinese crime.

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Presentation on theme: "1. definitions decide what you will find historically defined group (descending from Coxinga/Ming loyalists/etc.) type: organized ethnically Chinese crime."— Presentation transcript:

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2 definitions decide what you will find historically defined group (descending from Coxinga/Ming loyalists/etc.) type: organized ethnically Chinese crime group sharing specific rituals and myths (my preference) historiography suffers from inconsistent different definitions has attempted to separate the political and religious tends to side with state (in definitions of crime) and romanticize Triads concepts history vs mythology social, political and religious 2

3 largely in context persecution and repression Qing state colonial state local gazetteers ritual manuals from early 19 th century onwards descriptions of ritual in confessions (very few) partial eyewitness accounts (Western) painting of initiation ritual (Singapore) extant altars (HK and Singapore) contextualisation within local culture of the south 3

4 see also detailed historiographical survey by Dian Murray (Qin, Baoqi coll.), The Origins of the Tiandihui: The Chinese Triads in Legend and History (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994) Western colonial officers stressed ritual and myth, for instance: Schlegel Ward and Stirling (Freemasons) Stanton Morgan Chinese academic historiography inspired by connections to the nationalist revolution (early on, still alive) linking up to Zheng Chenggong/Ming loyalists analyzing foundation myth as close to history looking at movement thru archives and local histories role as moving force of history (rebellions, revolution) Triads as mutual support groups, gangs or otherwise (close to Qing readings) Western academic historiography early work influenced by marxist models more recently: following Chinese work stress on mutual support groups 4

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6 categories split and confine this is necessary, but always analytically subject to correction and replacement risk of projecting back modern categories (check: our definitions of the political, social and religious) social and religious often coincide as a result use of terms such as “diffuse” religion earlier therefore proposal: all lasting social formations in premodern China have a cult of worship at their centre Triads are such a group, with a twist: with addition of a seemingly political dimension 6

7 sufficient elements of the following characteristics name (or a variant): Heaven and Earth Earth Gathering 天地會, or Triads 三合會,三點會 family name Hong 洪 (radical!) bloodcovenant initiation ritual in three passages elements foundation myth on this basis selection cases selection topics for analysis 7

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10 frustrations of Qing officials and colonial officers Triad members unable to “explain” their ritual and mythology foundation myth or history what is explanation anyhow? Triad members: quoting poems from the ritual us: taking ritual apart to explain its purpose how do we know our explanation is “true” and what is the relevance of this “explanation” “true” : by contextualising within rituals and narratives of the participants as a group relevance: ask and answer the quesiton of how participants in a culture “know” meanings and what “meanings” mean 10

11 central devotional act without intrinsic Triad meaning Triad founders on the run had to use grass incense burner as ritual centre of a cult group more important than statues etc. miraculous appearance of the White Ding burner with the text 復明滅清 leader initiation ceremony called Incense Master reenactment by new members of first incense burning by Triad founder creates community in the present and links up with the past 11

12 bushel commonly used in variety of rituals (at least since Tang) measure filled with local grain (=community) objects (scissors etc.) inside receive Triad specific meanings taken up their exorcist functions five-coloured flags or threads symbolizing Five Encampments/ Five Houses Triad mythology Triads: 木楊城 or safe haven altar table with incense burner, bushel, candles, sacrificial food other objects on the altar as location in the City of Willows 12

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15 liminal places and transitions occur all the time in ritual practices & narrative elements grottoes rivers & bridges gates, passes seas & boats springs, sources, wells places for administering status cities for salvation (incl. Western Paradise, imagined as a city) cities for judgement and rebirth (underworld) safe places & retreats gardens grotto worlds rituals and narratives manage transitions between different states of being (death, life, no-death, before life, etc.) funerary ritual after-birth rituals exorcisms 15

16 16 enactment journey through hell (funerary ritual) 中元 / 鬼節 transitions&connection s 廈門 龍珠殿 送王船

17 death/separation crossings Tian Youhong’s interview with the gatekeepers preliminary questions encounters with two mysterious women Dark Dragon Hill & the Foot of Nail Mountain boat crossing of Triad River at Hongying Ferry, landing at Great Peace Market under the bridge with the two beams 17

18 passages birth purification incorporation Hong Gate Hall of Loyalty and Righteousness Circle of Heaven and Earth City of Willows Mountain of Fire concluding blood covenant at the Hong/Red Flower Pavilion festive banquet 18

19 19 “ 竹簍檔太陽,很重要的動作 ”: more likely a prophylactic measure, traditionally with winnowing basket crossing the fire with possessed sedan chair

20 ancient and common practice drinking alcoholic spirits mixed with blood of sacrificial victim (attested since CQ & WS period at least) gate of swords (attested in Song source!) aim to strengthen mouth as vehicle of words self-imprecations contents covenant sworn 洪 brothers duties of family members self-imprecations 20

21 membership certificate 21

22 contextualisation=> use conventional practices => meaning ritual works through shared cultural experience no meaning, but meaningful made specific by Triad mythological explanations (next section) Triad internal explanation as theatrical performance in five acts and an epilogue First Act: Gathering Together in the Flower Pavilion Second Act: Instructing the Children in the Central Hall Third Act: Taking the Oath at the Flower Pavilion Fourth Act: Meeting at the Side of the Bridge Fifth Act: Stabilizing the Country and Beheading the Traitor Epilogue: Banquet other indications: ritual preface with Eight Immortals, make-up of the Vanguard official in the British Museum Triad manual, use of whip to indicate horse riding (Morgan description) etc. 22

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24 “narrative” to explain and justify the Triads>conceived as history modern view would deny historicity=> mythological account matter of degree: academic history often serves legitimation attempts! specific aims of the narrative creation of an in-group (Triads) and out-group (the Qing state) justification of Triad activities as legitimate on a higher poltical level fall-from-grace plot is widespread type of southern Chinese story (more further below) 24

25 at the time of Li Zicheng one concubine fled>gave birth to the Young Prince rebellion Xilu Barbarians(Xilu 西魯 ~Xifan 西番 ) rebelled >emperor asked for help Shaolin monks from Gansu (!) responded> defeated the barbarians, thanked by emperor, returned to monastery traitorous official persecuted the monks, 13 survivors fled appearance of incense-burner with 復明滅清, made into focus blood covenant survivors successful fight against Qing armies loss Young Ruler and their original leader Master Wan, founding of the Five Houses from the five provinces 25

26 26 impact of fiction: Putian ‘s Shaolin Monastery

27 uniquely Triad elements High Creek as important location ( 1787>) Red Flower Pavilion as important location (1787>) story of fighter monks, dispatching spirit soldiers, losing their lives with 13 monks left (1787 >) meeting Zhu prince and Triads ( >) mythical date jiayin ( >) Zhu-prince flees the imperial palace ( >) City of Willows ( >) Triad (Five Houses) armies from specific provinces (( >) Shaolin monastery in Gansu ( implicitly, 1810 explicitly >) Mount Wan ( >) first complete narrative extant in 1810 manual, most constituent parts already present several or more years before names most prominent figures stem, from demonological messianic paradigm (see further on) 27

28 examples Patriarch Luo (Non-Action Teachings foundation myth) Eight Trigrams Green Gangs Yao culture and other southern local cultures (partially) basic plot loyal service to the imperial state in defeating barbarian ennemy reward betrayal strong in-group consciousness 28

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30 similar to tradition of charismatic networks discussed in an earlier lecture cosmic change and the fall of the dynasty preceded by violent times filled with war and the coming of the apocalypse (often mention of a Black Wind) advent of divine armies from distant places, led by a young ruler and his generals, to defeat the demonic creatures causing apocalyptic disasters western location as origin saviour find of treasures, city as safe haven no role for the Eternal Venerable Mother myth in late imperial period mainly a southern paradigm Qing version: prince is of Ming Zhu-family descent generals have auspicious names suggesting long life 紅, 桃, vastness 洪 and auspicious numbers 九, 萬. some cases Ma Chaozhu (1752) and other smalls cases crucial impact on Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace (in notion safe haven in Nanjing, barbarian./Manchu threat) 30

31 31 五營 ~ 五房

32 Young Prince (Young Prince important folkloric element in general), referred to as 明君, 明王, 明主 general as assistants with auspicious names 朱洪德, 朱紅竹, 朱 九桃, 李桃洪, 朱七桂, 萬雲龍 and so on demological armies from concrete distant places 五房 city as safe haven (City of Willows 木楊城 ), compare 楊州 / 陽 州 Sichuan (western location) as provenance savior fixed date (jiayin 甲寅 ) weak sense of apocalyptic disasters, but strong sense of barbarian (Manchu) threat 32

33 weak messianic impulse messianic ruler present: Young Ming Prince concrete event in the future predicted, not expected weak sense apocalyptic disasters possible moments translation into activities against Manchu/Qing regime maybe during the Triad uprisings of 1840s? maybe some expectations in late 19 th century =-> collaboration early nationalists for an evaluation, discussion of political symbols is required 33

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35 Mandate of Heaven Son-of-Heaven as recipient of tribute (i.e. not ruler over territory): ordering All-under-Heaven classical and vernacular Daoist ritual specialists: ordering All-under-Heaven local deities with feudal titles: ordering the local territory on behalf of heaven shared language “following [the mandate of] heaven” 順天 “the revolution” 運 seals precious objects (tripod, sword, etc.) messages from heaven please note: political and religious dimensions coincide here: political and messianic dimensions coincide treasures also have exorcist functions 35

36 leaders of Triad events who were never arrested: Wan Tiqi 萬提起 (1787 Lin Shuangwen rebellion) Zhu Jiutao 朱九桃 (1851intended [?] uprising) Zhu Hongying 朱洪英, Zhu Shenghong 朱盛洪 a.o. (1852 actual rebellion) Wan Dahong 萬大洪 (1850s Guangdong Red Turban rebellions) extensive search, at best claimed death=> mythical elements confused with real history political or religious rebellions? probably both attempts to bring the ideal Triad state about low level of long term planning some late 19 th century Triad leaders may have seen nationalist revolutionaries in similar light 36

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38 as part of nationalist historiography=> creating a pedigree/historical depth for nationalist activities Ming-loyalists (not entirely untrue, although always a myth) anti-Manchu connecting to Zheng Chenggong/Koxinga martial arts connection Shaolin element prelude of martial arts films Incorporation into martial arts foundation myths, historical depth unclear proto-revolutionaries because of purported nationalist connection social rebels (mutual support groups) police exaggeration organized crime> more funds & more freedom of persecution 38


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