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Thread: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    So a while back I wrote a featured article for Wikipedia (as "User: PericlesofAthens") entitled Tibet during the Ming Dynasty. To sum it up, academics outside mainland China almost universally assert that the relationship of Ming China (1368 - 1644) towards Tibet was one of suzerainty, with the imperial court treating the various competing lamaist factions as tributaries and oftentimes as preeminent Buddhist spiritual leaders. On the other hand, scholarship inside mainland China claim that the Ming Empire held strict sovereignty over Tibet. They cite passages from the History of Ming (明史; Mng Shǐ) about Ming emperors bestowing official titles onto various Tibetan lamas as evidence of their rule. Scholars in the opposite camp contend that these titles didn't confer power, but merely recognized Tibetan lamas and local rulers who were already in power on their own accord.

    For anyone interested, my article also delves into the evolution of the Dalai Lama and his unique relationship with the Oirat Khoshut Mongols, starting with the conquest of Tibet by Gshi Khan in 1642. Of course, that was overturned with the Manchu Qing Dynasty of China invading the region from the 1720s onwards.

    So what's TWC's verdict?

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    hellheaven1987's Avatar Comes Domesticorum
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    In that case I claim Ming also ruled Korea since the title of Korean King was given out by Ming too.

    So the answer is no obviously.

    Edit: Actually rethink about it it may be reasonable to claim Ming ruled Korea, since Korean monarchy actually believed they were Chinese and hold that idea firmly even after Ming's collapse by claiming Korea was last heaven of Chinese state.
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    The Dalai Lama was a vassal of the Ming ever since the Hongwu Emperor founded the dynasty, same as Korea as they just accepted Ming suzerainty. Thanks for the article, I actually wrote the article on the Ten Great Campaigns on Wikipedia. It was such a pathetic little article that I had to add lots of substance. I'm still working on it though.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    In that case I claim Ming also ruled Korea since the title of Korean King was given out by Ming too.

    So the answer is no obviously.

    Edit: Actually rethink about it it may be reasonable to claim Ming ruled Korea, since Korean monarchy actually believed they were Chinese and hold that idea firmly even after Ming's collapse by claiming Korea was last heaven of Chinese state.
    Regardless of how the Joseon Koreans viewed their historic relationship with the Chinese Empire, which did come to their aid when the Japanese under Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded, it was precisely the same relationship they had with Tibet. Aside from the brief period when Ming armies were stationed in Korea to kick out the Japanese, there were no Chinese garrisons stationed in Korea and no Ming officials sent to dictate orders or preside over local affairs. The Joseon court accepted status as a tributary and ruled Korea all by itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by money View Post
    The Dalai Lama was a vassal of the Ming ever since the Hongwu Emperor founded the dynasty, same as Korea as they just accepted Ming suzerainty. Thanks for the article, I actually wrote the article on the Ten Great Campaigns on Wikipedia. It was such a pathetic little article that I had to add lots of substance. I'm still working on it though.
    God I love the paintings in those articles representing events and battles in each of those campaigns, especially the Battle of Qurman (1759) in the First Campaign in Eastern Turkestan (Pacification of Xinjiang). It tickles me the most since the allied forces of Uyghur, Kyrgyz, and Dzungar peoples are all wearing distinctive pointy head caps that I became all too familiar with while living in Kyrgyzstan for two years: the kalpak. Compare theirs to the Manchu headgear worn by the Qing soldiers on the left of the painting (i.e. the ones doing the ass kicking in full pursuit of their fleeing enemy).

    The Great Victory at Qurman



    Battle of Qurman,1759; General Fu De, on it's way to relieve the siege of Khorgos was suddenly attacked by an enemy force of 5000 Muslim cavalry and with less than 600 men Fu De defeated the Muslims.

    Date of painting: 1765-1769

    A collaboration between Chinese and European painters. The Jesuit missionaries involved in producing the drawings in China were Giuseppe Castiglione, Jean-Denis Attiret, Ignace Sichelbart and Jean Damascene. The engravings were executed in Paris under the direction of Charles-Nicolas Cochin of the Acadmie Royal at the Court of Louis XVI and the individual engravers include Le Bas, Aliamet, Prevot, Saint-Aubin, Masquelier, Choffard, and Launay.
    And here below is a modern photo of a Kyrgyz man wearing a kalpak:



    Very similar.

    BTW, I lived in Kyrgyzstan because I was a US Peace Corps volunteer. Lovely people; taught them English.

    Cheers,
    Eric

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    Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar 大信皇帝
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Thanks I actually chose all of those pictures, although as I said the article is still a work in progress and I have written a few errors in the text (particularly some battles which I mistakenly put in the wrong campaigns of Turkestan).

    What sort of stuff did you do in Kyrgyzstan?

    Cheers,
    RAF
    Last edited by Lord Oda Nobunaga; July 31, 2013 at 11:13 AM.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    I was a TEFL volunteer living in a small village. In addition to teaching regular weekly English classes, I did stuff like acquire grant funding for better sports equipment, conducted afternoon clubs, went into the city to administer ACCESS Program tests and organize youth activities, etc. You know, Peace Corps stuff. Other volunteers who were business or health oriented did all kinds of stuff, from building wells, public toilets, and irrigation to training nurses or helping national radio programs get off the ground and running. In order to live comfortably and communicate with the locals, I had to learn Kyrgyz and Russian.

    As for your Wiki article, keep up the good work! It has a sound structure so far. All you need to do is add some more meat and make sure each of those pictures line up with the appropriate sections.

    So does anyone else want to weigh in on the Chinese Ming Empire and Tibet? I haven't heard any dissenting opinion yet. I guess that means no mainland Chinese scholars with their government breathing down their necks are lurking around these parts of the web.

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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Ruled through clients, as with the Romans policy to Armenia.

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    Diamat's Avatar VELUTI SI DEUS DARETUR
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    Edit: Actually rethink about it it may be reasonable to claim Ming ruled Korea, since Korean monarchy actually believed they were Chinese and hold that idea firmly even after Ming's collapse by claiming Korea was last heaven of Chinese state.
    Just to be clear though, when we say "they actually believed they were Chinese," this is not to mean "Chinese" as we understand it today. Rather, it was a moral/cultural thing. After the fall of the Ming, Joseon Korea saw itself as the protector of Confucian culture, only reluctantly bowing to the Qing. At one point some Koreans even considered invading the Qing to restore the Ming.

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    hellheaven1987's Avatar Comes Domesticorum
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamat View Post
    Just to be clear though, when we say "they actually believed they were Chinese," this is not to mean "Chinese" as we understand it today. Rather, it was a moral/cultural thing. After the fall of the Ming, Joseon Korea saw itself as the protector of Confucian culture, only reluctantly bowing to the Qing. At one point some Koreans even considered invading the Qing to restore the Ming.
    Chinese today is still considered cultural thing; the Korean case is rather interesting because its political system, writing system and culture were no different than Ming Chinese culture at that time and continued remaining similar until Cold War, which both Korean states went through brutal desinonization programs to get rid their Chinese cultural elements.
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    Chinese today is still considered cultural thing; the Korean case is rather interesting because its political system, writing system and culture were no different than Ming Chinese culture at that time and continued remaining similar until Cold War, which both Korean states went through brutal desinonization programs to get rid their Chinese cultural elements.
    Again, we need to be clear about certain things. Though Koreans shared a common writing system with the Chinese, they also had various versions of their own, such as eonmun or a transliteration of spoken Korean using Chinese characters. So in terms of language, despite the commonalities, Koreans definitely displayed unique cultural traits. The same goes for the political system. Take the Joseon status system for example, which underwent much transformation over the course of the dynasty. Korea was much more aristocratic than China, and there existed social divisions which have no real counterpart in China, such as the baekjeong or nobi. To say that these things "were no different" is a bit of an exaggeration.

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    hellheaven1987's Avatar Comes Domesticorum
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamat View Post
    eonmun
    Invented only in 15th Century which at that time Koreans already used Chinese characters to as writing system for a thousand year. Furthermore, Hangul never became mainstream of writing system in Korea until Cold War, when both Korean states went through de-sinonization and desperately to find an alternative writing system that was not Chinese.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamat View Post
    a transliteration of spoken Korean using Chinese characters.
    That does not matter because it was same in other Chinese provinces; most Chinese provinces spoke their local dialect while using Chinese characters for writing. Such situation only became less common during early 20th Century, when basic education became more wide-spread and hence more students received their formal education through Mandarin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamat View Post
    such as the baekjeong or nobi.
    ...

    Nobi system came from China, and in China it was only officially abolished during Republic period.
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsunegari View Post
    Ruled through clients, as with the Romans policy to Armenia.
    Right, the only major difference being that Rome's patronage of the Armenian royal court took into account the threat of a large neighboring power: Parthia. The Ming court to me seemed very disinterested in interfering with Tibetan affairs so long as they kept trading war horses for Chinese tea. The Ming didn't have to factor in the threat of a powerful neighbor until the Tmed Mongols under Altan Khan began patronizing the Tibetan lamas.

    At one point some Koreans even considered invading the Qing to restore the Ming.
    Never mind the fact that the Manchu rulers had adopted almost wholesale the Confucian ethics and promoted education through the Confucian classics. To the Joseon Koreans, the Manchu would always just be barbarians with queues I suppose.

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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    Invented only in 15th Century which at that time Koreans already used Chinese characters to as writing system for a thousand year. Furthermore, Hangul never became mainstream of writing system in Korea until Cold War, when both Korean states went through de-sinonization and desperately to find an alternative writing system that was not Chinese.

    That does not matter because it was same in other Chinese provinces; most Chinese provinces spoke their local dialect while using Chinese characters for writing. Such situation only became less common during early 20th Century, when basic education became more wide-spread and hence more students received their formal education through Mandarin.

    Nobi system came from China, and in China it was only officially abolished during Republic period.

    It doesn't matter whether or not something was invented in the 15th century (and by the way, eonmun was still used, especially among elite women), whether or not it is also done in other places, or whether or not it may have been influenced by Chinese institutions. What matters is that Koreans made it their own, in ways completely unknown to the Chinese. Most scholars of Korean history will agree that despite the similarities with China and imports from China, Korea was quite a bit different. The Joseon status system was a unique product of unique historical circumstances. Slavery, for example, took on a much different shape in Korea than it did in China.

    After all, we wouldn't say that all states in Europe were the same because they shared French elite culture or certain institutions. It's a ridiculous notion.
    Last edited by Diamat; July 31, 2013 at 02:27 PM.

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    hellheaven1987's Avatar Comes Domesticorum
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Never mind the fact that the Manchu rulers had adopted almost wholesale the Confucian ethics and promoted education through the Confucian classics. To the Joseon Koreans, the Manchu would always just be barbarians with queues I suppose.
    The plan was only considered in the early stage of Qing Dynasty; Manchu rulers only adopted Confucian ethics through a hard effort of Kangxi, which faced a lot of opposition from Manchu nobility class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamat View Post
    It doesn't matter whether or not something was invented in the 15th century (and by the way, eonmun was still used, especially among elite women), whether or not it is also done in other places, or whether or not it may have been influenced by Chinese institutions. What matters is that Koreans made it their own, in ways completely unknown to the Chinese. Most scholars of Korean history will agree that despite the similarities with China and imports from China, Korea was quite a bit different. The Joseon status system was a unique product of unique historical circumstances. Slavery, for example, took on a much different shape in Korea than it did in China.
    Facts are:

    - Korea used same administration system as Chinese.

    - Korea used same writing system as Chinese.

    - Korea used Confucianism as the base of examination system.

    - Korea had similar social class system as Chinese.

    - Korean elites were proud to be acted like Chinese and thought it was how to show they were higher class.
    Last edited by hellheaven1987; July 31, 2013 at 02:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    Facts are:

    - Korea used same administration system as Chinese.

    - Korea used same writing system as Chinese.

    - Korea used Confucianism as the base of examination system.

    - Korea had similar social class system as Chinese.

    - Korean elites were proud to be acted like Chinese and thought it was how to show they were higher class.
    Facts are:

    -Korea modified the Chinese administration system

    -Koreans did not speak Chinese and had various ways of writing

    -Korea was much more aristocratic than China (lots of hereditary statuses); China's elite was not aristocratic but landed gentry

    -Joseon Korea was much more radical than China when it came to Neo-Confucianism; Wang Yangming Learning was unacceptable; Cheng-Zhu Learning was orthodoxy; Joseon Koreanized Confucianism; Joseon Korea, in many ways, thought of the Song as an ideal

    -Korea had a strikingly unique social system when compared with China. Slavery was quite different, both in terms of status and roles. There were all kinds of slaves in Korea (e.g., jakkae nobi, pyongjak nobi).

    -The Korean status system underwent much transformation, even during the Joseon dynasty. It cannot be treated as an immutable entity simply copied from China. It had a life of its own. For example, pyongjak nobi-deul did not emerge until the late Joseon. The baekjong, something you don't find in China at all, were also a hereditary status group, the base people, who were not allowed to marry with yangin (though Yi Jun-gu has argued that baekjong had yangin status in early Joseon; Source: 李俊九, 朝蘇後期白丁의 存在樣相).

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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    I do not like the recent move (as of September) of my Wiki article "Tibet during the Ming Dynasty" to "Late Medieval Tibet." WTF? There's so many reasons why I detest the latter title.

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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Generally speaking, if people in the PRC say one thing and scholars from the rest of the world say another, I'm going to side with the rest of the world. Mainland China has a nasty habit of historical revisionism to justify modern territorial claims.

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    Default Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Tibet was certainly a vassal of Ming, but so were many other neighbors, eg Korea, Annam. It boils down to the reality that the Ming probably didn't have much interest in a fairly unimportant territory like Tibet.
    Last edited by Kitsunegari; December 27, 2013 at 01:57 PM.

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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    The plan was only considered in the early stage of Qing Dynasty; Manchu rulers only adopted Confucian ethics through a hard effort of Kangxi, which faced a lot of opposition from Manchu nobility class.



    Facts are:

    - Korea used same administration system as Chinese.

    - Korea used same writing system as Chinese.

    - Korea used Confucianism as the base of examination system.

    - Korea had similar social class system as Chinese.

    - Korean elites were proud to be acted like Chinese and thought it was how to show they were higher class.
    The thing is all those facts you've used apply to medieval Europe (French the language of courts, Latin writing, feudalism borrowed from the Franks), are you then implying that say England and France, who again shared all this too were basically a unified crown under one ruler? Or perhaps Milan was under Venice too?
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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Did the Chinese Ming Dynasty rule Tibet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dante Von Hespburg View Post
    The thing is all those facts you've used apply to medieval Europe (French the language of courts, Latin writing, feudalism borrowed from the Franks), are you then implying that say England and France, who again shared all this too were basically a unified crown under one ruler? Or perhaps Milan was under Venice too?
    Actually, there were several times (post Roman Empire) when England and vast amounts of France were united under one ruling monarch. The reigns of Richard I of England and Henry V of England immediately come to mind. In Richard's case, he spoke langue d'ol (not Middle English or even Anglo-Norman) and - when not on crusade - spent most his time within his French holdings.

    However, France or England didn't view either as its loyal tributary vassal, in the manner that the successive regimes of Imperial China viewed their Korean neighbors. To them, the Korean kingdom (unified first by Silla) was the young little brother to be guided and defended.

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