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Sinification of Xianbei for Northern Wei


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#1 Chinaconqueror

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 01:44 AM

Why did Xiao Wendi 孝文帝 of Northern Wei decided to carry out a sinification policy in 490 AD? What was his purpose? Was it to make their ruling more consolidated?

#2 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:53 AM

Hey wasn't Xiao Wendi's mother a han-chinese? It was her who influenced Xiao Wendi to carry out the sinfication policy..
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"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#3 RollingWave

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 12:16 PM

Many reasons influenced him........ for one the hope of holding a solid root in northern (and the hope of eventrually... all of) China was probably the biggest driving force...

Before the Sinification the Wei's capital is far in the north and it's grip on much of it's land in the south was loose and mostly based on military instead of a government system......

The adaptation arguablly secured the Xian Bei's rule in the north and it's eventrual triumpth over the South (The Sui and Tang royals all have Xian bei blood... and some even go as far as claiming they are pure Xian Bei)
無盡黑夜無盡愁, 但盼黎明破曉時

#4 DaMo

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 12:35 PM

The Sui and Tang royals all have Xian bei blood... and some even go as far as claiming they are pure Xian Bei

I know Taizong was quarter Xianbei from his maternal side, but all of them?
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#5 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:26 AM

It's actually 1/4 Hans and 3/4 Xianbei
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"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#6 Borjigin Ayurbarwada

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:43 PM

Edit: Apparently empress Dowager Dou was also descended from a Xian Bei clan. However, since Xian Bei and Han intermixed so much, its doubtful that she is 100% xianbei either.

Edited by warhead, 12 March 2008 - 10:02 AM.


#7 DaMo

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 03:36 PM

Why did Xiao Wendi 孝文帝 of Northern Wei decided to carry out a sinification policy in 490 AD? What was his purpose? Was it to make their ruling more consolidated?

http://www.chinatoda...e200405/p54.htm

Ethnic Emperor and Advocate of Sinicization
By staff reporter HUO JIANYING


IN 493, Emperor Xiaowen set out with 300,000 troops, including high-ranking officials and Xianbei aristocrats, from the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) capital of Pingcheng (present-day Datong, Shanxi) on a southern expedition. The emperor, called Tuoba Hong, was then 26 years old. In his lifetime he ruled only half of China; his place in Chinese history is by virtue of his efforts to assimilate ethnic groups into the Han majority, thus advancing China's establishment as a multi-ethnic nation.

...

In 386 the Xianbei defeated the dozen or so minority ethnic regimes in the north and established the heterogeneous Northern Wei Dynasty in which the Han Chinese were dominant in numbers and also in terms of ruling philosophy, politics and economy. Emperor Xiaowen was deeply influenced by Han thought and culture and called himself a "great Confucian scholar." He believed that in order for the Xianbei dynasty to consolidate, progress and flourish its people should assimilate into the advanced civilization of the Central Plains area.


Sinicization

Emperor Xiaowen had already formulated plans for reform, but had not articulated them as he knew the magnitude of objections that would confront him. Relocation of the capital gave him the perfect opportunity to broach the subject.

...

Another reform was Emperor Xiaowen's greater encouragement of intermarriage between Xianbei and Han aristocrats in order to strengthen ethnic unity. The emperor himself selected his concubines from large Han clans, and on his orders all six of his brothers married into noble Han families. Empress Dowager Wenming, the Emperor's first tutor in statecraft, was a Han, and proved to have had an enormous influence on his Han disposition.

...


"If an archeologist calls something a finial, he usually he has no idea what it is"
"We Vandals get blamed for stuff that was actually done by some errant Lombard or Visigoth"
"Nationalism is much about forgetting as it is about remembering"

China historical vacation 2011 photos and videos: http://www.chinahist...na-trip-photos/

#8 Yun

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 10:54 AM

Empress Dowager Feng (posthumous title Wenming), grandmother of Xiaowendi, is often given credit for teaching him to appreciate Han culture. She was Han - a member of the Northern Yan imperial family who entered the Northern Wei court as a concubine after Wei conquered Northern Yan. She was the Wu Zetian of her time - tough as nails, skilled at politics, had her own son (Emperor Xianwen) poisoned when he got too rebellious, and took quite a few lovers. Xiaowendi's first reforms actually began when he was still a minor and she was acting as regent for him. But some Western scholars have questioned whether she was really that influential in Xiaowendi's Sinification policy - it's possible that her influence was exaggerated by Han Chinese historians to show that the Xianbei were not the main active agents in the Sinification process.

It seems that during the Cultural Revolution, Jiang Qing also revived historical interest in Empress Dowager Feng as a strong woman in Chinese politics who left a good legacy.
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#9 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 12:15 AM

It seems that during the Cultural Revolution, Jiang Qing also revived historical interest in Empress Dowager Feng as a strong woman in Chinese politics who left a good legacy.


First time hearing that.. good to know
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"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#10 Guest_chinghiz_*

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 05:49 PM

Empress Dowager Feng (posthumous title Wenming), grandmother of Xiaowendi, is often given credit for teaching him to appreciate Han culture. She was Han - a member of the Northern Yan imperial family who entered the Northern Wei court as a concubine after Wei conquered Northern Yan. She was the Wu Zetian of her time - tough as nails, skilled at politics, had her own son (Emperor Xianwen) poisoned when he got too rebellious, and took quite a few lovers. Xiaowendi's first reforms actually began when he was still a minor and she was acting as regent for him. But some Western scholars have questioned whether she was really that influential in Xiaowendi's Sinification policy - it's possible that her influence was exaggerated by Han Chinese historians to show that the Xianbei were not the main active agents in the Sinification process.

It seems that during the Cultural Revolution, Jiang Qing also revived historical interest in Empress Dowager Feng as a strong woman in Chinese politics who left a good legacy.


Looks like this is an old thread.

But, "a member of the Northern Yan imperial family" does not necessarily mean that "members of the Northern Yan imperial family" were "Han" people. They are recorded as coming from "Bo Hai" region and that fact does not by itself means that they were Han. Bo Hai area was mainly inhabitted by Tungus people and ancient Koreans. Thus, they may be members of these ethnic groups as well. Gao Huan's personal name He Liu Hun (Ho-lu-hun->Horon) is a Tungus name, not a Han-Chinese name.

Edited by chinghiz, 29 June 2006 - 05:50 PM.


#11 Yun

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 02:33 AM

I wrote that post two years ago, when I still believed in referring to people in the Age of Fragmentation as 'Han' or 'non-Han' ethnically. Since late last year I've come to see that the use of 'Han' is anachronistic and misleading. The same goes for the term 'sinification'.

Jennifer Holmgren, an Australian historian who has now left academia, proposed the theory in the 1980s that the Feng were actually Xianbei despite the statement in the Jin Shu that they were 'Hua' people who had adopted Xianbei customs. I think you've confused the Feng with the Gao, however. As I mentioned elsewhere, Gao Huan claimed to be descended from the Gao clan of Bohai, and this Bohai was not the Bohai kingdom of the Tang period (which did not exist at this time), but rather a prefecture in present-day Hebei, well within Han dynasty borders. More specifically, he claimed to be from Xiu county of Bohai prefecture. Gao Huan did have some followers from the Bohai Gao clan, but whether he himself was from that clan has been questioned by historians who note that he and his sons behaved very much like Xianbei, including having Xianbei names.

Regarding Empress Dowager Feng, I'm very suspicious how much 'Hua' (or 'Han') identity she actually had since her ancestors had already adopted Xianbei culture. The conventional account that she started the 'sinicization' policy as revenge against the 'barbaric' Tuoba Xianbei who had conquered the 'Han-ruled' Northern Yan, and that she prided herself as a 'Han', ignores the fact that her own family would probably not have taught her that 'Hua' civilization was superior to Xianbei culture, so she would have had to pick this idea up from somewhere. I will be looking into this question in my Masters thesis.

Jennifer Holmgren has even suggested that Emperor Xiaowen's policy was really not aimed at cultural 'sinicization' at all, but rather at getting the Northern Wei state ready to conquer and rule the South by reducing the cultural gap between the Xianbei and the people of the Southern Qi. This, too, is something I will analyze in my thesis.
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#12 liuxing

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 08:35 AM

She was the Wu Zetian of her time - tough as nails, skilled at politics, had her own son (Emperor Xianwen) poisoned when he got too rebellious, and took quite a few lovers.

I believe Emperor Xianwen was her stepson not her own flesh and blood. Emperor Xianwen's birth mother was killed after he was chosen as Crown Prince due to the strange law of Northern Wei back then (the mother of the Crown Prince must die).

Undeniably, Empress Feng was ruthless. But I don't think her ruthlessness can match Wu Zetian's.

Edited by liuxing, 12 August 2007 - 12:01 PM.


#13 slcw

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 08:04 AM

anyone can tell me if there is an english version (book) of EMpress Feng history?

thanx

#14 Shiang

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:08 AM

Many reasons influenced him........ for one the hope of holding a solid root in northern (and the hope of eventrually... all of) China was probably the biggest driving force...

Before the Sinification the Wei's capital is far in the north and it's grip on much of it's land in the south was loose and mostly based on military instead of a government system......

The adaptation arguablly secured the Xian Bei's rule in the north and it's eventrual triumpth over the South (The Sui and Tang royals all have Xian bei blood... and some even go as far as claiming they are pure Xian Bei)


It was the opposite, the Sui and Tang Emperors tried to emphasize their paternal Han ancestry since the paternal side determined ethnicity.




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