Hierarchy of the World – a Reflection on Chinese and Manju Perceptions
(55th Annual Meeting, 2012)
Chinese attempts to structure the world, and be it for the purpose of a lexicographical description, offer a profound insight into the relationship between cosmos, civilization, man and nature. This relationship is understood as profoundly hierarchical and thus coincides with the basic understanding of social relationships which since the age of Confucius are by definition structured vertically. The Manju rulers have perpetuated this world view; their concepts of vertical relationships between themselves and other nations in Central Asia dominate politics well into the 21st century and found their way into multi-lingual dictionaries of the time.