|Ministry of Rites|
|Literal meaning||Rites Ministry|
|Vietnamese alphabet||Lễ Bộ|
|Manchu script||ᡩᠣᡵᠣᠯᠣᠨ ᡳ ᠵᡠᡵᡤᠠᠨ|
|Möllendorff||dorolon i jurgan|
The Ministry or Board of Rites was one of the Six Ministries of government in late imperial China. It was part of the imperial Chinese government from the Tang (7th century) until the 1911 Xinhai Revolution. Along with religious rituals and court ceremonial the Ministry of Rites also oversaw the imperial examination and China's foreign relations.
A Ministry of Rites also existed in imperial Vietnam, one of its tasks was enforcing the naming taboo.
Under the Han, similar functions were performed by the Ministry of Ceremonies. In early medieval China, its functions were performed by other officials including the Grand Herald. Under the Song (10th-13th centuries), its functions were temporarily transferred to the Zhongshu Sheng. Its administration of China's foreign relations was ended by the establishment of the Zongli Yamen in 1861.
Kowtow, which is borrowed from kau tau in Cantonese Chinese, is the act of deep respect shown by prostration, that is, kneeling and bowing so low as to have one's head touching the ground. In Sinospheric culture, the kowtow is the highest sign of reverence. It was widely used to show reverence for one's elders, superiors, and especially the Emperor, as well as for religious and cultural objects of worship. In modern times, usage of the kowtow has been reduced.
The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing, was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The multiethnic Qing empire lasted for almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for modern China. It was the fourth largest empire in world history in terms of territorial size.
The Ming dynasty, officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China ruled by Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng, numerous rump regimes ruled by remnants of the Ming imperial family—collectively called the Southern Ming—survived until 1662.
The Asuka period was a period in the history of Japan lasting from 538 to 710, although its beginning could be said to overlap with the preceding Kofun period. The Yamato polity evolved greatly during the Asuka period, which is named after the Asuka region, about 25 km (16 mi) south of the modern city of Nara.
The "Cup of Solid Gold", adopted by the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) on 4 October 1911, was the first official national anthem of China. The title wishes for the stability of the "golden cup," a ritual instrument that symbolized the empire. Six days after the anthem was adopted, however, the Wuchang Uprising took place and quickly led to the fall of the Qing. The "Cup of Solid Gold" was never performed publicly.
The government of China officially espouses state atheism, but in reality most of Chinese citizens practice some kind of Chinese folk religion, especially Confucianism. Chinese civilization has historically long been a cradle and host to a variety of the most enduring religio-philosophical traditions of the world. Confucianism and Taoism (Daoism), later joined by Buddhism, constitute the "three teachings" that have shaped Chinese culture. There are no clear boundaries between these intertwined religious systems, which do not claim to be exclusive, and elements of each enrich popular or folk religion. The emperors of China claimed the Mandate of Heaven and participated in Chinese religious practices. In the early 20th century, reform-minded officials and intellectuals attacked all religions as "superstitious", and since 1949, China has been governed by the Communist Party of China, an atheist institution that prohibits party members from practicing religion while in office. In the culmination of a series of atheistic and anti-religious campaigns already underway since the late 19th century, the Cultural Revolution against old habits, ideas, customs and culture, lasting from 1966 to 1976, destroyed or forced them underground. Under subsequent leaders, religious organisations were given more autonomy. The government formally recognizes five religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam. In the early twenty-first century there has been increasing official recognition of Confucianism and Chinese folk religion as part of China's cultural inheritance.
The Foreign relations of the Imperial era of Chinese history from the Qin dynasty until the Qing dynasty encompassed many situations as the fortunes of dynasties rose and fell. Chinese culture had influenced neighboring and distant countries, while being transformed by outside influences as well as being conquered. During the Western Han dynasty, the Silk Road trade routes were established and brought Hellenistic Central Asia, Persia under the Parthian Empire, and South Asia into contact with the Chinese empire. During the 2nd century BC, Zhang Qian became the first known Chinese diplomat to venture deep into Central Asia in search of allies against the Mongolic Xiongnu confederation. Han Chinese attempts were made at reaching the Roman Empire and although the mission led by Gan Ying in 97 AD was a failure, Chinese historical records nevertheless maintain that the Romans traveled to southern China and Vietnam via the Indian Ocean. Buddhism from India was introduced to China during the Eastern Han period and would spread to neighboring Vietnam, Korea, and Japan, all of which would adopt similar Confucian cultures based on the Chinese model.
The Zongli Yamen (traditional Chinese: 總理衙門; simplified Chinese: 总理衙门; pinyin: Zǒnglǐ Yámén; Wade–Giles: Tsung3-li3 Ya2-men2) was the government body in charge of foreign policy in imperial China during the late Qing dynasty. It was established by Prince Gong in 1861 after the Convention of Beijing. It was abolished in 1901 and replaced with a Foreign Office of ministry rank.
The Lifan Yuan was an agency in the government of the Qing dynasty which supervised the Qing Empire's frontier Inner Asia regions such as its Mongolian dependencies and oversaw the appointments of Ambans in Tibet.
The State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) was a functioning department under the State Council of the People's Republic of China which oversaw religious affairs in the country. Originally created in 1951 as the Religious Affairs Bureau, SARA was closely connected with the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and charged with overseeing the operations of China's five officially sanctioned religious organizations:
State Religious Affairs Bureau Order No. 5, officially named Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism, is an order passed during a conference of the State Administration for Religious Affairs on 13 July 2007, marked for implementation on 01 September 2007.
Mongolia under Qing rule was the rule of the Qing dynasty over the Mongolian steppe, including the Outer Mongolian 4 aimags and Inner Mongolian 6 leagues from the 17th century to the end of the dynasty. "Mongolia" here is understood in the broader historical sense. The last Mongol Khagan Ligden saw much of his power weakened in his quarrels with the Mongol tribes, was defeated by the Manchus, and died soon afterwards. His son Ejei Khan gave Hong Taiji the imperial authority, ending the rule of Northern Yuan dynasty then centered in Inner Mongolia by 1635. However, the Khalkha Mongols in Outer Mongolia continued to rule until they were overrun by the Dzungars in 1690, and they submitted to the Qing dynasty in 1691.
The Three Departments and Six Ministries system was the main central government structure in imperial China from the Sui dynasty (581–618) to the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). It was also used by Balhae (698–926) and Goryeo (918–1392) in Manchuria and Korea, and very likely the Lý dynasty (1009–1225) and the Trần dynasty (1225–1400) in Vietnam as well.
The exact nature of relations between Tibet and the Ming dynasty of China (1368–1644) is unclear. Analysis of the relationship is further complicated by modern political conflicts and the application of Westphalian sovereignty to a time when the concept did not exist. The Historical Status of China's Tibet, a book published by the government of PRC, asserts that the Ming dynasty had unquestioned sovereignty over Tibet, pointing to the Ming court's issuing of various titles to Tibetan leaders, Tibetans' full acceptance of these titles, and a renewal process for successors of these titles that involved traveling to the Ming capital. Scholars within China also argue that Tibet has been an integral part of China since the 13th century and that it was thus a part of the Ming Empire. But most scholars outside China, such as Turrell V. Wylie, Melvin C. Goldstein, and Helmut Hoffman, say that the relationship was one of suzerainty, that Ming titles were only nominal, that Tibet remained an independent region outside Ming control, and that it simply paid tribute until the Jiajing Emperor (1521–1566), who ceased relations with Tibet.
The Kashag, was the governing council of Tibet during the rule of the Qing dynasty and post-Qing period until the 1950s. It was created in 1721, and set by Qianlong Emperor in 1751 for the Ganden Phodrang in the 13-Article Ordinance for the More Effective Governing of Tibet《酌定西藏善后章程十三条》. In that year the Tibetan government was reorganized after the riots in Lhasa of the previous year. The civil administration was represented by Council (Kashag) after the post of Desi was abolished by the Qing imperial court. The Qing imperial court wanted the 7th Dalai Lama to hold both religious and administrative rule, while strengthening the position of the High Commissioners.
Shamanism was the dominant religion of the Jurchen people of northeast Asia and of their descendants, the Manchu people. As early as the Jin dynasty (1111–1234), the Jurchens conducted shamanic ceremonies at shrines called tangse. There were two kinds of shamans: those who entered in a trance and let themselves be possessed by the spirits, and those who conducted regular sacrifices to heaven, to a clan's ancestors, or to the clan's protective spirits.
Xu Jingcheng was a Chinese diplomat and Qing politician supportive of the Hundred Days' Reform. He was envoy to Belgium, France, Italy, Russia, Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany for the Qing imperial court and led reforms in modernizing China's railways and public works. As a modernizer and diplomat, he protested the breaches of international law in 1900 as one of the five ministers executed during the Boxer Rebellion. In Article IIa of the Boxer Protocol of 1901, the Eight-Nation Alliance that had provided military forces successfully pressed for the rehabilitation of Xu Jingcheng by an Imperial Edict of the Qing government:
Imperial Edict of the 13th February last rehabilitated the memories of Hsu Yung-yi, President of the Board of War; Li Shan, President of the Board of Works; Hsu Ching Cheng, Senior VicePresident of the Board of Civil Office; Lien Yuan, Vice-Chancellor of the Grand Council; and Yuan Chang, Vice-President of the Court of Sacrifices, who had been put to death for having protested against the outrageous breaches of international law of last year.
Chinese Esoteric Buddhism refers to traditions of Tantra and Esoteric Buddhism that have flourished among the Chinese people. The Tantric masters Śubhakarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra, established the Esoteric Buddhist Zhenyan tradition from 716 to 720 during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. It employed mandalas, mantras, mudras, abhiṣekas, and deity yoga. The Zhenyan tradition was transported to Japan as Shingon Buddhism by Kūkai as well as influencing Korean Buddhism. The Song dynasty (960–1279) saw a second diffusion of Esoteric texts. Esoteric Buddhist practices continued to have an influence into the late imperial period and Tibetan Buddhism was also influential during the Yuan dynasty period and beyond.
The Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, or Xuanzheng Yuan was a government agency and top-level administrative department set up in Khanbaliq that supervised Buddhist monks in addition to managing the territory of Tibet during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) established by Kublai Khan. It was originally set up in 1264 as an autonomous office named Zongzhi Yuan or the Bureau of General Regulation, before it was renamed in 1288, which was named after the Xuanzheng Hall where Tibetan envoys were received in the Tang dynasty. In the Mongol Empire, Tibet was managed by the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, separate from the other provinces of the Yuan dynasty such as those governed the former Song dynasty of China, but still under the administrative rule of the Yuan. While no modern equivalents remain, the political functions of the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs might have been analogous to the India Office in London during the British Raj. Besides holding the title of Imperial Preceptor or Dishi, Drogön Chögyal Phagpa, the fifth leader of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, was concurrently named the director of the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs. One of the department's purposes was to select a dpon-chen, usually appointed by the lama and confirmed by the Mongol emperor in Beijing. Tibetan Buddhism was not only practiced within the capital Beijing but throughout the country. Apart from Tibetan affairs, the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs managed the entire Buddhist clergy throughout the realm, and supervised all temples, monasteries, and other Buddhist properties in the empire, at least in name. According to scholar Evelyn Rawski, it supervised 360 Buddhist monasteries. To emphasize its importance for Hangzhou, capital of the former Southern Song dynasty and the largest city in the Yuan realm, a branch Xuanzheng Yuan was established in that city in 1291, although Tibetan Buddhism took public or official precedence over Han Chinese Buddhism.
The political systems of Imperial China can be divided into a central political system, a local political system, and a system for the selection of officials. There were three major tendencies in the history of the Chinese political system: the escalation of centralisation, the escalation of absolute monarchy, and the standardisation of the selection of officials. Moreover, there are the ancient supervision system and the political systems created by ethnic minorities, as well as other critical political systems which may be mentioned.
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