UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Differentiation and harmonization : the compilation of the first illustrated gazetteer of the “New Territory” of the Qing empire (1644–1912) Chen, Tianpei


A group of Qing court officials was ordered to compile a local gazetteer of the Western Regions, a vast stretch of land in present-day northwest China that was incorporated into the Qing empire (1644–1912) in 1759, and which in time became known as Xinjiang, or “New Territory.” The result of their efforts was the Qinding Huangyu Xiyu tuzhi (Imperially Commissioned Illustrated Gazetteer of the Western Regions of the Imperial Domain), or Xiyu tuzhi for short. This thesis examines the compilation of this first Qing government-sponsored gazetteer of Xinjiang and the cultural ideology that influenced the Qing-dynasty rule of the Western Regions in general. By studying the way in which the Xiyu tuzhi was compiled by the Qing empire, I argue that the compilers employed the Confucian rhetoric of music untraditionally to assert their agenda: incorporating the borderland through both differentiation and harmonization to legitimize Qing’s rule of the region. They differentiated local peoples and cultures to maintain diversities and harmonized the diversities of local characteristics in the Western Regions and made it universally accessible as part of the empire’s imperial knowledge. A better understanding of the functions that the knowledge of music in the Xiyu tuzhi served would be the starting point to lead us to a broader picture of the Qing’s expansion and how the Qing maintained the diverse local characteristics of the Western Regions instead of creating uniformity across the empire.

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