The Late 19th Century Plague In China History Essay

In the past, different countries had its peculiar safeguard processes against disease during epidemic period, both politically and spiritual. However, as clip goes by, presents more and more people tend to see spiritual safeguard methods as a superstitious behaviour instead than a practical step. Therefore whether spiritual rites, particularly Wang Ye worship, benefited the authorities and local community non merely spiritually but besides practically during the nineteenth century is the chief focal point of this essay.

This essay will widen into two premises: foremost, popular faith usually benefits authorities bar policy, without supplanting the authorization of emperor. Second, pestilence does non subtract the influence of traditional faith, due to the fact that rite of popular faith has a practical map as a precautional step. The premises will examined by concentrating on three attacks: constructs of disease in 19th century China community, the relationship between governmental bar policy and popular faith, and the precautional function popular faith played.

This survey aims to hold a logical and grounds based prove scrutiny of premises above, based on old research which related to this subject, for illustration, “ Plague in 19th Century China ” ( C.Benedict 1996 ) , “ Fleas and Plague ” ( W. Cranshaw and R. Wilson 2012 ) , and “ Plague and Guangdong Society in Late Qing Dynasty ” ( Q. Xie 2001 ) .

This essay will reason that, whether Wang Ye Worship has its positive map in both religious and practical use, which benefits the authorities and local community. The construction of this essay will split into 4 parts: debut, research background, statements, and eventually decision.

Small but fatal micro-organisms are one of our worst incubuss. Human history is inseparably entwined with infective bacteriums, from cholera, little syphilis to blight. Among these diseases, pestilence was one of the most serious infective unwellnesss in human history. The patients are infected from infective fleas carried by black rats ( W. Cranshaw and R. Wilson 2011: 1 ) . Infected-fleas besides attach to transit animate beings and equipment like Equus caballuss, camels and even ships, and as the epidemic country becomes wider and wider ( C. Benedict 1988: 170 ) .

As a planetary epidemic disease which has several epidemic period, there three effects of Plague: the dramatic bead of population, which might hold caused the lessening of one to two tierces of the population during the pandemic in the Yuan Dynasty ( L. Julia 2006: 178 ) ; a decrease of the church ‘s power ( K. Nagano and M. Akamatsu 1996: 149-150 ) , and the rise of monarchal power of masters in the West ; last, the diminution of the authorization of authorities, for illustration Byzantium imperium ( M. Cyril 2002: 265 ) and Yuan Dynasty ( L. Julia 2006: 178 ) .

Plague was non merely devastated populations in the yesteryear, since the Plague of Justinian in 6th century Europe ( K. F. Kiple Editor 1993:630 ) ; each pandemic has impacted human society badly. In the nineteenth century, China was non merely threatened by the invasion of imperialist forces, but besides by serious and frequent pandemic eruptions ;

There were 176 pestilences devastated in 101 old ages ( X. H. Su 2012: 1 ) , leaded the decease toll reached its zenith in southern China.

The nineteenth century was besides the dusky old ages of China ‘s last imperial authorization, Qing Dynasty, one of China ‘s minority nationalities which ruled the bulk Han people for about three hundred old ages. Although the Qing Dynasty had likely the most complete famine-relief system comparing with other Dynasties in China history, the Qing authorities put excessively much medical resources in the Imperial Academy of Medicine, taking to insufficient medical and human resources in local medical establishments ( F. X. Zhu 2011: 2 ) , which contributed to the inefficient scheme for commanding epidemic state of affairs, taking people turned their consolation to faith during the epidemic.

For many old ages, epidemic was believed to be a flagellum. This construct was influenced by Taoism, one of the native faiths in China. Peoples in Qing Dynasty already noticed the connexion between rats and pestilence, for illustration, the poesy “ Si Shu Xing ” written by poet Shi Dao Nan, who died in Yunnan epidemic in 19th century.

However, people did non detect that rats were the beginning of pestilence, alternatively they took rats as portion of the flagellum phenomenon, having to the uncirculated information environment. Furthermore the construct of the formation of diseases were internal attributed that epidemic could be triggered by single immoral behaviour besides an alienated community, which was influenced by Confucianism.

In the nineteenth century, although modern constructs of bar were introduced by missionaries, people who lived in local communities still considered pandemic diseases be a requital for perverse moral behaviour sent from Wenbu, the Ministry of Epidemics ( C. Benedict 1996: 111 ) . In order to extenuate God ‘s wrath, during the epidemic, non merely was medical bar used but rites of popular faith were besides adapted by local governmental officers to stamp down the pestilence ( C. Benedict 1996: 115 ) . Therefore, popular faith, plays an of import function in both spiritually and precautional.

By and large, authorities authorization and popular faith existed in a common manner in Qing Dynasty. For a better control Qing Dynasty admitted local ‘s popular faith as an official faith, such as Taoism and Buddhism. Governmental bureaus even took popular faith rites into consideration to stamp down the pestilence ( C. Benedict 1996:119 ) , for illustration the ritual Jiao, a common ritual originated from Taoism for exclude immorality and pestilence.

Jiao is one of the most common popular faith rites related to Wang Ye worship. One of the celebrated Jiao is Wang Jiao, which can still be seen in Taiwan, and south east China like Guangdong, Hong Kong ( C. Benedict 1996:115 ) ; traditionally, Wang Ye does non mention to a specific God, but a symbol of male divinities and devils who decide whether to convey diseases to adult male ‘s universe or non, and to contend against pestilence when people repent and mend their immoral behaviour ; including WenShen, the God of disease ; and Guandi, the God of war.

Therefore there are two chief grounds for keeping Jiao: foremost is to repay Wang Ye with appreciate for supplying wellness to the community, second is to inquire Wang Ye for contending against pestilence and to chase away the immorality ; like Yigui, the evil liquors which causes pestilence ; and frequently combined with planchette authorship ( C. Benedict 1996: 113 ) held by a psychics.

To forestall pestilence, usually community invites Wenshen for a banquet as wages for non conveying disease, and so sent him back to Wenbu with a particular paper made boat, Wangchuan. When pestilence took topographic point, Wang Ye is besides invited to contend against it. By and large in Taiwan this ritual is held one time in every three old ages in April lunar calendar.

Distinct from Europe, although both the Wang Ye worship and Christian church were playing a important function in many positions like stabilising the community during the epidemic. Nevertheless Plague did non deduct the influence of Wang Ye worship in the local community ; and usually benefits to governmental bar policy without supplanting the authorization of emperor during pandemic season, while church was deducted its authoritativeness from the pestilence.

The possible causes can be divided into three grounds: foremost, the historical background of 1000s of old ages of powerful monarchal reign meant faiths were controlled by the authorities ( X. H. Shen 2012: 2 ) ; The good relationship between the faith and Qing authorities came from the presupposition of important control.

For case, Qing authorities considered popular faiths, such as Wang Ye worship, as a manner to circulate the authorities ‘s will ( X. H. Shen 2012: 1 ) ; the Qing Dynasty had a system to form faiths ; for illustration, Golden Urn, the method to make up one’s mind following Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama in Tibet.

Second, the construct of how epidemic diseases were formed in an internally ascription manner in 19th century China ; 3rd, the instability in distribution of medical resources had a negative impact on the construction of local bar systems ( F. X. ZHU 2011: 3 ) . For illustration, alternatively of offering adequate and efficient medical services, what Qing authorities did is supplying disaster-relief and sealing the pandemic countries, when pandemic disease has attacked.

In add-on, with a huge district and few human resources in the agency, it was difficult to command or acquire information about an epidemic. Therefore local communities, even officers, tended rely on spiritual ritual as a bar attack to exorcize pestilence ( F. X. ZHU 2011: 3 ) . Even the modern bar construct has introduced in China by missionaries, it was rejected by local community having to the contradiction with popular faith.

For case, maintaining full cadaver is of import in traditional burial imposts. Therefore the cremation of the cadaver and all the properties in order to disinfect others from pestilence was unacceptable ( X. H. Su 2012: 2-3 ) . The struggles between philosophies and scientific discipline caused hapless apprehension of disease bar methods in local countries, besides infringed the safeguard policy when modern epidemic bar constructs were brought in to China ; in some manner, this weakened the governmental safeguard steps.

On the other manus, from certain positions, the rite of Wang Ye worship still had practical map as safeguard steps against pestilence in the nineteenth century China.

Although Qing Dynasty had a complete precautionary system of all time earlier, the unequal distribution of deficient homo and medical resources in local authorities decreased the map in forestalling and stamp downing pestilence. Therefore, people turned their hopes to divine power, for illustration, Wang Ye worship.

However during epidemic period, keeping Jiao frequently attracted many participants seeking for divinity ‘s clemency, increasing the hazards of group and cross infection ( M. X. Yang 2005: 2 ) . Despite the possibility infection, Wang Ye worship did has its practical map in forestalling pestilence. For illustration it is believed the imposts of imbibing poached H2O or H2O with Allium sativum or sterilized drugs were taught by Guandi, the God of War, through the planchette in the Jiao ritual ( C. Benedict 1996: 113 ) .

In add-on Wang Ye Worship besides influenced the traditional imposts in China, Duanwu is the authoritative illustration. On Duanwu local communities drinks and jimmiess realgar vino on the land to clean both their organic structures, spiritually and physically, every bit good as their life environment ( C. Benedict 1996: 119 ) . Realgar vino is made from an arsenic sulfide mineral, it is now grounds that the constituents of realgar can poison gnawers.

Owning to a deficiency of human resources in the local authorities medical establishment, on the premiss that popular religious was controlled by the authorization, popular faith rites such as Jiao were adapted by local authoritiess for stamp downing pestilence and stabilise the communities. Thus it can be seen that the popular faith, Wang Ye worship, could Profit the local authorities safeguard policy during epidemic period.

However, it can be argued that keeping Wang Jiao during epidemic could besides increase the possibility of cross and group infection. In add-on, the airing of modern bar constructs was interfered due to it was contradict with the philosophies of popular faith ; for case, the construct of cremating the cadaver of pestilence victim is one of the modern bar methods, yet it was in struggle with the thought of maintaining the full cadaver in popular faith.

To sum up, the practical operation of Wang Ye Worship is more effectual in bar instead than suppression of the pestilence, despite the restriction of missing statistics to turn out and to back up the thesis ; yet, since the ritual and imposts have existed for 1000s old ages, as the old stating the cogent evidence of the pudding is in the feeding.

Therefore, there can be no uncertainty that traditional faith had a positive and practical consequence on the local community in 19th century China in footings of its parts to stabilising the communities ; giving local people precautional advice, like imbibing purified H2O and buffering the insufficient of human resource during epidemic.