By Xiaoqing Ye
"On an autumn morning in 1793, Lord Macartney waited to be ushered into the imperial summer time retreat to participate within the get together of the Qianlong Emperor's 82nd birthday. It used to be a protracted day; the get together drama, Ascendant Peace within the 4 Seas, lasted 5 hours. there have been many scenes of fish, turtles and different sea creatures, and Macartney guessed it should have had anything to do with the wedding among the sea and land. He couldn't were extra wrong…" For the Qing courtroom, pleasing overseas viewers used to be just one of the varied ritual and political reasons dramas served. Delving right into a wealthy selection of first-hand fabrics, the writer meticulously excavates and combs old facts together with courtroom documents, eunuchs' memoirs, pictorial files of opera costumes, and interval information. She investigates the advance of imperial drama and its effect at the Peking Opera, in addition to the functionality and approach of imperial corporations answerable for drama. additionally mentioned are the complicated roles of the actors off and on degree, and the wider problems with cultural and political impression intertwined with the performances themselves. The publication therefore offers us not just an paintings background of Peking Opera, but additionally a brilliant scroll-painting of the social-cultural existence either in and past the Forbidden urban.
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Additional resources for Ascendant Peace in the Four Seas: Drama and the Qing Imperial Court
Before the Jiaqing emperor, the Nanfu, although large, was not an independent organisation in the bureaucracy. The later Shengpingshu, in contrast, kept precise records and had the authority to send memorials to the emperor and to issue documents. 5 million documents of the Neiwufu. Studies by early twentieth-century scholars on the Nanfu depended entirely on the records of the later Shengpingshu. Even the approximate date of the foundation of the Nanfu could not be established. Scholars generally believed that the Nanfu was established by Qianlong.
I earnestly entreat Your Majesty’s approval. 93 This was the first time since 1827 that outsiders had been appointed to perform in the palace. More followed. Six of them were former Nanfu employees who had been allowed to remain in Peking. 94 They performed in the palace and in the imperial retreat at Rehe. When the British and French attacked Peking in 1860, Xianfeng took refuge in Rehe until his death almost a year later. During this short period, no less than 320 operas were performed there, some more than once.
What is more, military dispatches are still coming and going, and the evil has not yet been dispelled. 70 Jiaqing never recovered from the shock. He remained convinced that fate was against him. In the Rehe imperial retreat there were three pavilions near a lotus lake. All three pavilions bore the same name, Lengxiangting 冷香亭 (the Pavilion of Cool Fragrance), with inscriptions by Kangxi, Qianlong, and Jiaqing. 71 Kangxi’s inscription reads: “This pavilion helps to clear the mind. ” Qianlong wrote that the pavilion reminded him of the praise he received from his grandfather when he recited Zhou Dunyi’s 周敦頤 prose poem, The Love of the Lotus 愛蓮說, in front of a lotus pool in Rehe when he was a child.
Ascendant Peace in the Four Seas: Drama and the Qing Imperial Court by Xiaoqing Ye