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Reshaping Landscape and Contesting Space: The Relocation of the Wenchang Temple of Dongchuan Prefecture, Yunnan in the Eighteenth Century

Fei HUANG (Sun Yat-sen University, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

The physical landscape of Dongchuan prefecture in Yunnan province was transformed as the region was incorporated into the Qing empire. After administrative regularization ("gaitu guiliu") ended the power of indigenous chiefs, the landscape was remade by local officials and elites who saw themselves as acting on behalf of the Qing state. Old and new understandings of landscape and ritual space co- existed and contended. This article analyzes the relocation of the Wenchang temple in Dongchuan Prefecture in the eighteenth century as a case study of a historical process in which physical structures associated with local scholarship and literati culture interacted with social reproduction of different groups. New ritual spaces and landscapes were constructed by officials, but they were understood, represented and remembered in different ways by different local social groups according to their own socio- economic situation. Official and elite representations were not simply accepted universally. Rather, different groups in local society in Qing Dongchuan developed their own differentiated interpretations of the local landscape and ritual space.

Journal of History and Anthropology