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Local Deities and the Borderland Society: The Formation and Popularization of the Worship of Meng Chieftain in the Lancang River Basin since the Qing Dynasty

Special Issue
Chunqiao WANG (Yunnan University)
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After "the Revolt of the Three Feudatories"(三藩之亂), in order to restore the social order and establish its authority in the Lancang River basin, the Qing court began to adapt to the local tradition, and actively created, transplanted, appropriated, and invented the historical narratives of Meng Tingrui, who was a chieftain killed at the end of Ming Dynasty. Since then, after nearly three hundred years, the worship of Chieftain Meng changed from official worship to non-official worship, folk worship, and illicit worship in the Lancang River basin. The formation and spread of the worship of the Chieftain Meng made the orthodox ideology and state discourse of the Qing dynasty penetrate into the local tradition of the Yunnan frontier region. Furthermore, it also kept the historical memory and discourse of Yunnan society in local deities through local records, legends, temples, and rituals, which have survived up to now. That was not only the reflection of the Qing court's consolidation of its rule and reconstruction of frontier order, but also the result of local society's pursuit of self-identity and power. The process embodied a set of state political frameworks and the evolution mechanisms of the state ceremonial system in the Yunnan frontier.

Journal of History and Anthropology