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Fears of Inheritance Disruption: Tracing ‘Establishing Heirs’ in Ancient and Early Imperial China

October 24, 2023 @ 11:30 am 1:00 pm

Speaker: Hsinning Liu, Academia Sinica; HYI Visiting Scholar, 2023-24
Chair/Discussant: Michael Puett, Harvard University

It is widely acknowledged that in Imperial China, the system of inheritance adhered to the principle of patrilineal succession, which bore the responsibility for performing ancestral sacrifices. Consequently, every man was obligated to have a male heir. In cases where he did not have a biological son, it became imperative to select and establish an heir who would carry forward his lineage, whether he was alive or deceased.

This presentation endeavors to trace the historical origins of this practice and reexamine the intricate relationship between inheritance and ancestral sacrifice. In ancient China, while inheritance was closely intertwined with ancestral sacrifice, it exhibited marked differences compared to later periods. Early Imperial China stands as a crucial transitional phase in this evolution.

More info: https://www.harvard-yenching.org/events/fears-of-inheritance-disruption/


October 24, 2023
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Harvard-Yenching Institute


Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave.

2 Divinity Ave.
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 United States

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