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Canonization and Loyalty: Shrines to Loyal Officials in the Transition from Northern to Southern Song

Jun-feng YANG (Soochow University)
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Shrines to officials famous for their loyalty first appeared long before the Song. But it was during the period of transition from Northern to Southern Song that the imperial state first launched campaigns to promote such shrines. These shrines were typically initiated by the authorities, and were given official titles featuring the term "loyalty". They thus had a bureaucratized character. As the attention of state authorities turned the question of the worship and sacrifice at these shrines, their emphasis shifted to eliciting and recognizing loyalty from the common people. The status and accomplishments of the enshrined official became less significant than the shrine's contribution to the larger campaign of promoting loyalty. The goal of this campaign was very different from earlier efforts under the reign of Emperor Huizong (r. 1100-1126) to publicize martial accomplishment. These new efforts were part of a larger project to reconstruct the values of loyalty and justice in the early Southern Song, in which the construction of shrines and bestowal of titles emerged as a new measure, suggesting that sacrifice had moved to the center of political consciousness. State efforts to promote core political values through promoting sacrifice and worship marks a new development in political tradition from the Song onwards.

Journal of History and Anthropology