The Tiger’s Teeth

Local Gazetteers as Sources for Images Related to the Performance of Ritual


  • Anne Gerritsen University of Warwick



Local gazetteers, rituals, implements, musical instruments, manuals, images, stopper and starter


Local gazetteers often include images of ritual implements. This essay studies those images, asking when, where and why such images began to appear in local gazetteers and how these images relate to textual and visual representations of ritual implements in state-level illustrated ritual manuals. The argument this contribution seeks to make is that local gazetteers should be considered among the valuable sources for the study of Confucian ritual. When we look closely at the visual material about ritual in local gazetteers, we see that the process of the appearance of images of ritual implements in local gazetteers should not be understood simply as a top-down diffusion of state-level ritual instruction. The creators of these local illustrations were working within their own circumstances: their skills at creating the illustrations, the models they had to hand, and their understanding of their function were all distinct. While the ambitions of the Qianlong emperor are key to understanding the emphasis on ritual during his reign, as demonstrated by well-known ritual publications such as Huangchao liqi tushi, it is also clear that images related to rituals appeared in the local gazetteers at different times and in different cultural spaces from large-scale imperial projects. If we want to understand what local individuals thought about the importance of ritual in Qing society, we have to take the images of ritual implements included in local gazetteers seriously.




Download data is not yet available.


Anfu xian zhi 安福縣志 (Anfu county gazetteer). (1869) 2013. Jiang Dading 薑大定 (ed.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Arrault, Alain. 2020. A History of Cultic Images in China: The Domestic Statuary of Hunan. Translated by Lina Verchery. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press.

Baoqing fu zhi 寶慶府志 (Baoqing prefectural gazetteer. (1684) 1988. Liang Bihai 梁碧海 and Liu Yingqi 劉應祁 (eds.). Beijing: Shumu wenxian chubanshe.

Bol, Peter K. 2008. Neo-Confucianism in History. Boston: Harvard University Asia Center.

Changsha xian zhi 長沙縣志 (Changsha county gazetteer). (1810) 2009. Zhao Wenzai 趙文在 and Chen Guangzhao 陳光詔 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Chow, Kai-wing. 1994. The Rise of Confucian Ritualism in Late Imperial China: Ethics, Classics, and Lineage Discourse. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Da Ming huidian 大明會典 (Collected Statutes of the Great Ming). 1509. Li Dongyang 李東陽 (ed.). Beijing: Silijian.

Da Ming huidian 大明會典 (Collected Statutes of the Great Ming). 1587. Li Dongyang 李東陽 and Shen Shixing 申時行 (eds.). Beijing: Neifu kanben.

Da Ming jili 大明集禮 (Collected rituals of the Great Ming). 1530. Xu Yikui 徐一夔 (ed.).

Dennis, Joseph. 2015. Writing, Publishing, and Reading Local Gazetteers in Imperial China, 1100-1700. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center: Distributed by Harvard University Press.

Dongye zhi 東野志 (Dongye gazetteer). 1689. Lü Huashun 呂化舜, Kong Yanfa 孔衍法, and Kong Yanzhi 孔衍治 (eds.).

Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. 2014. Emperor Huizong. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Falkenhausen, Lothar von. 2006. Chinese Society in the Age of Confucius (1000-250 BC): The Archaeological Evidence. ISD LLC.

Fava, Patrice. 2013. Aux portes du ciel: la statuaire taoïste du Hunan: art et anthropologie de la Chine. Paris: Les Belles lettres : École française d’Extrême-Orient.

Franke, Herbert, ed. 1976. Sung Biographies. Wiesbaden: Steiner.

Gu’an xian zhi 固安縣志 (Gu'an county gazetteer). (1859) 2009. Chen Fujia 陳福嘉 and Chen Chongdi 陳崇砥 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Guangdong tongzhi chugao 廣東通志初稿 (Preliminary draft of the Guangdong gazetteer). (1535) 1988. Dai Jing 戴璟 and Zhang Yue 張嶽 (eds.). Beijing: Shumu wenxian chubanshe.

Hanyang fu zhi 漢陽府志 (Hanyang prefectural gazetteer). (1669) 2013. Li Ningzhong 李甯仲 and Chen Guoru 陳國儒 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Harrist, Robert E. 1995. ‘The Artist as Antiquarian: Li Gonglin and His Study of Early Chinese Art’. Artibus Asiae 55 (3/4): 237–80.

Hsu Ya-Hwei 許雅惠. 2017. ‘Review of Design by the Book: Chinese Ritual Objects and the “Sanli Tu” by François Louis’. Journal of Song-Yuan Studies 47 (1): 227–31.

Hsu, Ya-Hwei. 2010. ‘Reshaping Chinese Material Culture: The Revival of Antiquity in the Era of Print, 960–1279’. Ph.D., Yale University.

Hsu, Ya-Hwei. 2013. ‘Antiquities, Ritual Reform, and the Shaping of New Taste at Huizong’s Court’. Artibus Asiae 73 (1): 137–80.

Huazhou zhi 化州志 (Gazetteer for Huazhou). (1890) 2009. Peng Buying 彭步灜 and Peng Yisun 彭貽蓀 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Huangchao liqi tushi 皇朝禮器圖式 (Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Imperial Qing Dynasty). Qianlong. British Library, OR 9430.

Huangchao liqi tushi 皇朝禮器圖式 (Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Imperial Qing Dynasty). (1759) 1983. Yunlu 允祿 and Fulong’an 福隆安 (eds.). Taibei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan.

Keliher, Macabe. 2016. ‘Administrative Law and the Making of the First Da Qing Huidian’. Late Imperial China 37 (1): 55–107.

Keliher, Macabe. 2019. The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Kerlouégan, Jérôme. 2012. ‘Printing for Prestige? Publishing and Publications by Ming Princes (Part 3)’. East Asian Publishing and Society 2 (1): 3–75.

Lai Yu-chih 賴毓芝. 2020. ‘Tu yu li. “Huangchao Liqi Tushi” de chengli yu qi yingxiang 〈「圖」與禮‥ 《皇朝禮器圖式》的成立及其影響 [“Illustrations” and the Rites: The Formation of Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Imperial Qing Dynasty and Its Influence]’. National Palace Museum Research Quarterly 37 (2): 1–56.

Lam, Joseph S. C. 1998. State Sacrifices and Music in Ming China: Orthodoxy, Creativity and Expressiveness. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press.

Lam, Joseph S. C. 2002. ‘Musical Confucianism: The Case of “Jikong Yuewu”’. In On Sacred Grounds: Culture, Society, Politics, and the Formation of the Cult of Confucius, edited by Thomas A. Wilson, 134–72. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center.

Lam, Joseph S. C. 2005. ‘Huizong’s Ritual and Musical Insignia’. Journal of Ritual Studies 19 (1): 1–18.

Lam, Joseph S. C. 2011. ‘Music and Masculinities in Late Ming China’. Asian Music 42 (2): 112–34.

Li Zhizao 李之藻. (1618) 1970. Pangong liyue shu 頖宮禮樂疏 [Manual on rites and music in county and prefectural schools]. Taibei: Guoli zhongyang tushuguan.

Lin Changyi 林昌彝. 1863. Sanli tongshi 三禮通釋 (General commentary on the Three Rites). Guangzhou.

Liping fu zhi 黎平府志 (Liping county gazetteer). (1882) 2009. Chen Yu 陳瑜 and Yu Wei 俞渭 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Liu Yonghua. 2013. Confucian Rituals and Chinese Villagers: Ritual Change and Social Transformation in a Southeastern Chinese Community, 1368-1949. Leiden: Brill.

Louis, François. 2016. Design by the Book: Chinese Ritual Objects and the Sanli Tu. New York: Bard Graduate Center.

McMullen, David. 2010. ‘The Role of the Zhouli in Seventh- and Eighth-Century Civil Administrative Traditions’. In Statecraft and Classical Learning: The Rituals of Zhou in East Asian History, edited by Benjamin A. Elman and Martin Kern, 181–228. Leiden: Brill.

Ming huidian 明會典. (1587) 1968. Shen Shixing 申時行 (ed.). Taibei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan.

Nie Chongyi 聶崇義. (961) 1983. Sanli tu jizhu 三禮圖集注 (Collected commentaries on the Illustrations to Three Ritual Classics). Taipei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan.

Pingshan xian xu zhi 平山縣續志 (Continued county gazetteer of Pingshan). 1854. Wang Dixin 王滌心 (ed.).

Pucheng xian zhi 浦城縣志 (Pucheng county gazetteer). (1651) 2009. Mei Yantao 梅彥騊 and Li Baozhen 李葆貞 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Qianyang xian zhi 黔陽縣志 (Qianyang county gazetteer). (1733) 2013. Zhang Fuyi 張扶翼 and Wang Guangdian 王光電 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Qinding Da Qing tongli 欽定大清通禮 (Imperially endorsed General rituals of the Great Qing). (1756) 1983. Lai Bao 來保 (ed.). Taipei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan.

Qu Jiusi 瞿九思. (1609) 2002. Kongmiao liyue kao 孔廟禮樂考 (Study of the rites and music of the Confucius Temple). Shanghai: Guji chubanshe.

Qufu xian zhi 曲阜縣志 (Qufu county gazetteer). (1774) 2009. Pan Xiang 潘相 (ed.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Rawson, Jessica. 2007. The British Museum Book of Chinese Art. 2nd ed. London: British Museum Press.

Rawson, Jessica. 2015. ‘Ornament in China’. In A Companion to Chinese Art, edited by Martin Powers and Katherine R. Tsiang, 371–91. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

San li tu 三禮圖 (Illustrations to Three Ritual Classics). 1983. Liu Ji 劉績 (ed.). Taipei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan.

Shangcai xian zhi 上蔡縣志 (Shangcai county gazetteer). (1690) 2009. Zhang Mu 張沐 and Yang Tingwang 楊廷望 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Shi Jishi 史記事. 1622. Da Cheng Li Yue Ji 大成禮樂集 (Collection of documents on the Confucian rites and music).

Sichuan zong zhi 四川總志 (Sichuan comprehensive gazetteer). (1566) 1988. Liu Damo 劉大謨 and Yang Shen 楊慎 (eds.). Beijing: Shumu wenxian chubanshe.

Sichuan zongzhi 四川總志 (Sichuan comprehensive gazetteer). (Wanli) 2009. Guo Fei 郭棐 and Yu Huaizhong 虞懷忠 (eds.). Beijing: Beijing Airusheng.

Smith, Richard J. 1991. ‘Ritual in Ch’ing Culture’. In Orthodoxy in Late Imperial China, edited by Kwang-Ching Liu, 281–310. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Smith, Richard J. 2013. Mapping China and Managing the World: Culture, Cartography and Cosmology in Late Imperial Times. New York: Routledge.

Standaert, Nicolas. 2006. ‘Ritual Dances and Their Visual Representations in the Ming and the Qing’. The East Asian Library Journal 12 (1): 68–181.

Wang Zhou 王州 and Wang Yaohua 王耀華. 2017. ‘Kongmiao liyue de dingwei, shijian ji qi wenhua neihan: Yi Mingdai wenxian《Kongmiao Liyue Kao》《Dacheng Liyue Ji》kaocha wei zhongxin 孔廟禮樂的定位、實踐及其文化內涵——以明代文獻《孔廟禮樂考》《大成禮樂集》考察為中心’ (Perspectives, practices, and cultural connotations of music in the Confucian temple, based on a study of Ming literary compilations Kongmiao liyue kao and Dacheng liyue ji). Zhongguo Yinyue Xue, no. 1: 37–41.

Wang, Tao, ed. 2018. ‘Matter of Things: How to Read Ancient Chinese Bronzes’. In Mirroring China’s Past: Emperors, Scholars, and Their Bronzes, 17–31. Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago.

Wechsler, Howard J. 1985. Offerings of Jade and Silk: Ritual and Symbol in the Legitimation of the T’ang Dynasty. New Haven; London: Yale University Press.

Wu Hung. 2016. ‘The Art of “Ritual Artifacts” (Liqi): Discourse and Practice’. In A Companion to Chinese Art, edited by Martin Powers and Katherine R. Tsiang, 233–53. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Wu Hung. 2019. ‘Practice and Discourse: Ritual Vessels in a Fourth-Century BCE Chinese Tomb’. In Vessels: The Object as Container, edited by Claudia Brittenham, 120–71. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wu, Ben. 1998. ‘Ritual Music in the Court and Rulership of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)’. PhD, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh.

Wu, Guo. 2022. An Anthropological Inquiry into Confucianism: Ritual, Emotion, and Rational Principle. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Wuqiao xian zhi 吳橋縣志 (Wuqiao county gazetteer). (1875) 2009. Feng Qingyang 馮慶楊 and Ni Changxie 倪昌燮 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Xiangtan xian zhi 湘潭縣志 (Xiangtan county gazetteer). 1756. Ouyang Zhenghuan 歐陽正煥 and Lü Zhengyin 呂正音 (eds.).

Xiangtan xian zhi湘潭縣志 (Xiangtan county gazetteer). (1889) 2002. Chen Jiayu 陳嘉榆 and Wang Kaiyun 王闓運 (eds.). Shanghai: Guji chubanshe.

Xiao Song 蕭嵩. (732) 1978. Da Tang Kaiyuan li 大唐開元禮 (Ritual Code of the Kaiyuan Period in the Great Tang). Taibei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan.

Xinchang xian zhi 新昌縣志 (Xinchang county gazetteer). 1521. Mo Dan 莫旦 (ed.).

Xinchang xian zhi 新昌縣志 (Xinchang county gazetteer). (1579) 2009. Tian Guan 田琯 (ed.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Xinchang xian zhi 新昌縣志 (Xinchang county gazetteer). 1671. Lü Zengnan 呂曾柟 and Liu Zuoliang 劉作樑 (eds.).

Xinchang xian zhi新昌縣志 (Xinchang county gazetteer). (1793) 2013. Wan Tinglan 萬廷蘭 and Yang Wenfeng 楊文峰 (eds.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Xinchang xian zhi 新昌縣志 (Xinchang county gazetteer). (1872) 2013. Zhu Qing’e 朱慶萼 (ed.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Xinchang xian zhi 新昌縣志 (Xinchang county gazetteer). (1919) 1970. Jin Cheng 金城 and Chen Yu 陳畬 (eds.). Taibei: Chengwen chubanshe.

Yu Hui-chun 餘慧君. 2011. ‘Bronzes from Afar: Ch’ien-Lung’s Hsi-Ch’ing Hsü-Chien Chia-Pien Fu-Lu’. Guoli Taiwan Daxue Meishu Shi Yanjiu Jikan 31: 151–204.

Yu Huichun. 2009. ‘Qianlong’s Divine Treasures: The Bells in Rhyming-the-Old Hall’. Asia Major 22 (2): 121–44.

Yuan, Zujie. 2007. ‘Dressing for Power: Rite, Costume, and State Authority in Ming Dynasty China’. Frontiers of History in China 2 (2): 181–212.

Yuanjiang xian zhi 沅江縣志 (Yuanjiang county gazetteer). (1810) 2009. Luo Kongzhuan 駱孔僎 (ed.). Beijing: Airusheng.

Yunmeng xian zhi 雲夢縣志 (Yunmeng county gazetteer). (1668) 2001. Chen Mengzhou 陳夢舟 and Zhang Kuihua 張奎華 (eds.). Beijing: Xianzhuang shuju.

Yuzhi lülü zhengyi 禦製律呂正義 (Imperially approved standard interpretation of music theory). (1724) 1983. Taipei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan.

Zhang Anmao 張安茂. (1656) 1997. Pangong liyue quanshu 頖宮禮樂全書 (Complete Description of the Rites and Music for the Ceremonials [Offered to Confucius] in Local Schools). Jinan: Qi Lu shushe chubanshe.

Zhang Ke 張珂. 2016. ‘Huangchao Liqi Tushi zhong de yueqi《皇朝禮器圖式》中的樂器’ [Musical instruments in the Huangchao liqi tushi]. Gehai, no. 05: 38–42.

Zhao, Haoyang. 2020. ‘Art Historical and Provenance Research in a Case Study of Huangchao Liqi Tushi’. Journal for Art Market Studies 4 (2).

Zito, Angela. 1998. Of Body and Brush: Grand Sacrifice as Text/Performance in Eighteenth-Century China. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gerritsen: The Tiger’s Teeth




How to Cite

Gerritsen, A. (2022). The Tiger’s Teeth: Local Gazetteers as Sources for Images Related to the Performance of Ritual. The Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies, 3, 85–122.



Visual Materials in Local Gazetteers