Han Chinese, Manchu, and Western Spaces: The Changing Facade of Imperial Education in Qing Beijing

in Frontiers of History in China
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The physical spaces of imperial education during the Qing were carefully constructed sites of political architecture that sought to shape the behavior of princes, emperors, and their teachers while projecting dynamic images of power. This article examines a range of buildings associated with the Qing pedagogical apparatus. It argues that the changing spaces of imperial education drew on both classical ideals and international iconographies of power to create and disseminate a fluid vision of rule. In the eighteenth century, the Qianlong emperor ordered the construction of the Biyong Hall at the center of the Imperial Academy in Beijing for exclusive use by the emperor during the Imperial Lecture, combining classical Han Chinese and Manchu expressions of authority. Throughout the nineteenth century, heirs to the throne and young emperors were trained in classrooms filled with calligraphy penned by their ancestors. Aphorisms drawing on the Confucian classics, as well as Daoist and Buddhist texts, urged the young rulers to strive for dynastic renewal. Finally, at the start of the twentieth century as the Qing worked to transition to a constitutional monarchy, imperial classrooms around Beijing were infused with Western architectural styles, incorporating new strands of authority for the reforming Qing dynasty.

Han Chinese, Manchu, and Western Spaces: The Changing Facade of Imperial Education in Qing Beijing

in Frontiers of History in China
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