Between patron and priest: Amdo tibet under qing rule, 1792-1911
Oidtmann, Max Gordon. Harvard University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2014.
In the late eighteenth century, a Qing-centered, pluralistic legal order emerged in the Tibetan regions of the Qing empire. In the Gansu borderlands known to Tibetans as "Amdo," the Qing state established subprefectures to administer indigenous populations and prepare them for integration into the empire. In the 1790s, the Qianlong emperor asserted the dynasty's sovereignty in central Tibet and embarked on a program to reform the Tibetan government. This dissertation examines the nineteenth-century legacy of these policies from the twin perspectives of the indigenous people of the region and the officials dispatched to manage them. On the basis of Manchu and Tibetan-language sources, Part One argues that the exercise of Qing sovereignty in central Tibet was connected to the Qianlong court's desire to monopolize indigenous arts of divination, especially as they related to the identification of prominent reincarnations. The Qing court exported a Ming-era bureaucratic technology--a lottery, and repurposed it as a divination technology--the Golden Urn. The successful implementation of this new ritual, however, hinged on the astute use of legal cases and the intervention of Tibetan Buddhist elites, who found a home for the Urn within indigenous traditions. Several Tibetans involved in the initial implementation of the Urn hailed from Amdo, and their knowledge of the Qing empire and Tibetan legal culture informs Part Two. Following Qing official critiques of Buddhist governance, these Tibetans reasserted the legitimacy of Buddhist jurisprudence and celebrated the rise of large monastic polities in Amdo. However, on the basis of the extant archives of a Qing subprefect in Amdo, I argue that Tibetan litigants also made extensive use of Qing institutions to resolve conflicts and the contingent adjudication of legal cases in Qing forums fundamentally shaped the growth of large monastic domains such as Labrang Monastery. Qing local officials served as the embodiment of a pluralistic legal order and the insistence that Qing officials exercise "Tibetan" jurisprudence resulted in the creation of a distinctive body of legal practices. The encounter between Qing officials and Tibetans in the course of legal proceedings, therefore, played an essential role in consolidating a fractious "Tibetan world."