Faculty Publications

Title

The Xianbei in Chinese history

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Dai, Empress Dowager Feng (Wenming), Gaxian Grotto, Hu, Khan (qaghan), Koguryǒ, Mulan, Murong, Northern Wei, Sinicization, Tang, Tuoba, Wuhuan, Xianbei, Xiaowen (emperor), Yan (dynasty)

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Early Medieval China

Volume

19

Issue

1

First Page

1

Last Page

38

Abstract

The Xianbei were perhaps the most prominent of the various non-Chinese peoples active in north China during the Age of Division. They established a number of imperial dynasties there, some of which were admittedly no more than ephemeral footnotes to history, but others of which-notably including the Northern Wei-are commonly viewed as having been major dynasties, squarely in the legitimate line of Chinese dynastic succession. In addition, the Xianbei were also central to the origins of the gloriously reunified Sui and Tang dynasties, even though the Xianbei role in their formation has not always been sufficiently appreciated. Despite their very real importance in Chinese history, the Xianbei remain today relatively little known, especially in English language scholarship. This article therefore aims to provide the most comprehensive study of the Xianbei available yet in English, to assess the overall role of the Xianbei in Chinese history, and also to examine the Xianbei as a critical case study in the more general, and controversial, process known as sinicization. © Early Medieval China Group 2013.

Original Publication Date

12-1-2013

DOI of published version

10.1179/1529910413Z.0000000006

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