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Emperor and AncestorState and Lineage in South China$
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David Faure

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804753180

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804753180.001.0001

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The Power of an Idea

(p.218) Chapter Sixteen Incorporation:
Emperor and Ancestor
Stanford University Press

In the sixteenth century, ritual reforms dramatically transformed the Pearl River Delta society by teaching villagers to sacrifice to ancestors in ancestral halls, rather than at their graves. In addition, such reforms introduced the ancestral hall and the need to accumulate landed wealth and property to provide for perpetual sacrifice to the ancestors, resulting in the incorporation of the lineage groups. Despite the proliferation of ancestral halls during the sixteenth century, a handful of powerful families with connections to senior officialdom would have cornered large-scale development projects. As the Qing government built up its local administration, incorporation enabled broadly based lineage groups to pool their resources. Combined with the economic growth of the eighteenth century, incorporation allowed Pearl River Delta lineages to engage in business and commercialism.

Keywords:   Pearl River Delta, ritual, reforms, incorporation, business, property, commercialism, ancestral halls, lineages

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