Synchronizing Everyday Life in the Chinese Empire: The Circulation, Ritual, and Illegal Printing of Calendar during the Qing Dynasty

Yuanchong Wang, University of Delaware

This essay reveals how the circulation of state-dictated calendars from the court in Beijing to local communities in each province in Inner China and Mongolian entity in Inner Asia of the Chinese Empire during the Qing period synchronized the everyday life of the multiethnic and multicultural empire. As the majority of population lived in an agrarian way of life, the synchronization of their agricultural activities on a yearly basis proved vital for the entire empire to function, while state-imposed rituals and festivals built a master identity among different ethnic peoples governed by the empire from Inner China to Eurasian frontier. By inspecting several lawsuits regarding calendar printing, native religion, and intellectual copyright, the essay also shows how the state sought to compromise with prevalent illegal calendar reproduction to meet the unprecedented challenge in history caused by a population boom and significant improvement of printing techniques.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 230. The Ideology and Governance of the Late Chinese Empire