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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


On the Group Consciousness of Multiethnic Literati in the Yuan Dynasty

Vol. 35 No. 1   6/2005    


On the Group Consciousness of Multiethnic Literati in the Yuan Dynasty


Ch’i-ch’ing Hsiao 









Key words

Yuan dynasty, multiethnic literati’s circle, group consciousness, Mongols, Semu


       China under the Mongol-Yuan rule in the 13th and 14th centuries was a multiethnic society that was comprised of nit only the conquering Mongols and Semu but also the conquered Northern and Southern Chinese. Scholars in the past have considered discrimination and socio-cultural separation among various ethnic groups as the chief characteristic of the period. This study is a part of our attempt to modify this view. Several paper that I have published in recent years have shown that under Chinese cultural influence, a literati group had appeared among the Mongol and Semu People by the mid-Yuan and that the Mongol and Semu literati had close socio-cultural interactions with their Chinese Colleagues whereby a multiethnic literati’s circle appeared. This paper intends to show that the literati of various ethnic groups shared the same set of literati consciousness. As the second section of this paper shows, the Mongol and Semu literati had the same beliefs as their Chinese colleagues that, in ruling China, traditional Chinese methods of government (Hanfa) had to be adopted. The third section points out that these non-Chinese literati considered the preservation and dissemination of the Chinese cultural heritage be their responsibility, the fourth section indicates that these non-Chinese literati changed their moral values and customs in accordance with Confucian requirements. The fifth section shows that the Mongol and Semu literati shared the views of their Chinese colleagues in the assessment of Chinese historical personalities and the development of Chinese history. The last section explores the reasons why the Mongol and Semu literati adopted Chinese culture and why the Chinese literati were willing to establish a common identity with their alien colleagues.



Author: Ch’i-ch’ing Hsiao
Genre: Article
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