AAS 2018 Annual Conference

March 22-25 | Washington, D.C.

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

Deadline for Receipt of All Proposals is August 8, 2017.

Deadline to submit post for this forum is July 31, 2017

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Alcohol and Diplomacy: 11th Century Kitan-Chinese Envoy Culture
Last Post 20 Jul 2017 07:27 PM by Zachary Hershey. 0 Replies.
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Zachary HersheyUser is Offline
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20 Jul 2017 07:27 PM
    Zachary Scott Hershey - University of Pennsylvania PhD Student - zhershey@sas.upenn.edu;

    Geographic Area: North China; Mongolia;

    Title: Alcohol and Diplomacy: 11th Century Kitan-Chinese Envoy Culture;


    Reports submitted to the court by diplomatic missions between and the Chinese Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE) the Khitan Liao Dynasty (907-1125 CE) provide rare records of the diplomatic culture between two powers in Central and East Asia during the early 11th century. A handful of these reports survive, but two, one by Chen Xiang and another by Lu Zhen, provide particularly detailed notes of banqueting interactions between the envoy missions and Liao officials in the course of their travels. The Ritual Treatise, or Lizhi, of the dynastic history of the Liao, the Liaoshi, also provides what appear to be ritual prescriptions for interactions between envoys and the Liao emperor and empress dowager. Due to a dearth of detailed descriptions, developing an understanding of the structure and purpose of banqueting in the Liao requires a combined reading of these two distinct textual sources. The combination of these sources allows for the production of a fresh image of Khitan Liao culture through the medium of banqueting within the narrow context of the court and the aristocracy while offering a broader perspective of banqueting in relation to interactions between Chinese emissary missions and Khitan officials along the road. The role of banquets in diplomatic interactions will be explored with particular attention being paid to two key elements of banqueting culture: food and alcohol. Ceremonies along the road are analyzed in order to understand how interpersonal communication outside of the setting of the Liao imperial court influenced perceptions of “the other” in the course of such envoy missions. Additionally, this article provides revisions of excerpts of the English translation of the emissary reports provided by Dr. David Wright as well as new translations of the prescriptions found in the Ritual Treatise of the Liaoshi which suggest punctuation clarification of the Zhonghua Shuju edition of the Liaoshi. A comparison of the envoy descriptions of interactions with the Khitan emperor and empress dowager with the prescriptions in the Liaoshi for identical ceremonies reveals a lack of correspondence which draws into question the origin of the Liaoshi Ritual Treatise.
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