Forging the Golden Urn. The Qing Empire and the Politics of Reincarnation in Tibet. Columbia University Press 2018.
Autore: Max Oidtmann.
In Forging the Golden Urn, Max Oidtmann ventures into the poly- glot world of the Qing empire in search of the origins of the golden urn tradition. He seeks to understand the relationship between the Qing state and its most powerful partner in Inner Asia—the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism. Why did the Qianlong emperor invent the golden urn lottery in 1792? What ability did the Qing state have to alter Tibetan religious and political traditions? What did this law mean to Qing rulers, their advisors, and Tibetan Buddhists? Working with both the Manchu-language archives of the empire’s colonial bureaucracy and the chronicles of Tibetan elites, Oidtmann traces how a Chinese bureaucratic technology—a lottery for assigning administrative posts—was exported to the Tibetan and Mongolian regions of the Qing empire and transformed into a ritual for identify- ing and authenticating reincarnations. Forging the Golden Urn sheds new light on how the empire’s frontier officers grappled with mat- ters of sovereignty, faith, and law and reveals the role that Tibetan elites played in the production of new religious traditions in the context of Qing rule.
Preface and Acknowledgments
Act I: The Royal Regulations
Act II: Shamanic Colonialism
Act III: Amdowas Speaking in Code
Conclusion: Paradoxes of the Urn and the Limits of Empire
Chronology of Key Events
List of Usages of the Golden Urn Ritual
Tibetan Orthographic Equivalents
Translation of the Qianlong Emperor’s Discourse on Lamas
Leonard van der Kuijp, Harvard University:
Oidtmann’s book opens up new perspectives on the intricate relationship that existed toward the end of the eighteenth century between Lhasa and the Qing court. The presence of reincarnate lamas is a defining feature of Tibetan Buddhism; Oidtmann brilliantly details its political dimension and the way the Qianlong emperor and his court decided to introduce the golden urn as a means to control the process by which reincarnate lamas were selected. Forging the Golden Urn is a tour de force and should be required reading for anyone interested in the history of Tibet, Qing history, and the history of Inner Asia.
Peter Schwieger, University of Bonn:
Using new source material, Max Oidtmann’s Forging the Golden Urn opens a window to a better understanding of the dynamics that resulted in Tibet’s increasing incorporation into the Qing empire. Framing these imperial efforts as a legal enterprise first and foremost, Oidtmann provides a fresh approach to examine the Qing’s strategy for expanding and justifying its sovereignty. This excellent book—obviously a result of sound and careful research—is a major achievement.
Max Oidtmann è assistant professor of Asian history presso Georgetown University, Qatar.
M. Oidtmann, Forging the Golden Urn. The Qing Empire and the Politics of Reincarnation in Tibet. Columbia University Press 2018.
Hardcover: 352 pages, ISBN-13: 9780231184069
E-book: 352 pages, ISBN-13: 9780231545303
Publisher: Columbia University Press, July 2018.