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From Gods to Ancestors: The Social Transformation in the Chadong Area of Lingui County, Guilin Prefecture during the Qing Dynasty

Jianmin REN (Sun Yat-sen University)
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This paper takes the Chadong area of Guilin as a case study to investigate the social transformation of different ethnic groups in Northeast Guangxi during the Qing Dynasty. Gods and ancestors used to coexist in the Chadong area during the Qing. Generally speaking, villagers at first built temples for the gods they worshipped. Afterwards, some new elements, such as genealogy stone tablets, were added to the temples, and ancestors were worshipped together with gods in the same temples. During the process of transformation, gods were replaced by ancestors, and the temples were turned into ancestral halls. In the late Qing, sometimes social networks constituted of lineages of the same surname took shape. But differences within the social networks showed the different historical origins of different ethnic groups. For example, the tale of suppressing bandits and the tale of nine stockades were two sides of the same coin. The groups telling the tale of suppressing bandits were trying to emphasize that their settlement were supported by the officials while the groups telling the tale of nine stockades maintained their historical memories of being suppressed by military power.

Journal of History and Anthropology