Ritual for the Horse Spirit in China: Practice and Participation

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5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Paul Webley Wing (Senate House), SOAS University of London
Wolfson Lecture Theatre (SWLT)
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About this event

The significance and the unique place of ritual in Chinese history have been well established.

The field of animal history continues to provide new avenues for understanding not only human and animal life in China, but also the dynamics that emerge from the intersection of these worlds.

By examining an imperially commissioned text of shamanic rituals inscribed in the eighteenth century, Dr Sare Aricanli will talk about her paper which contributes to both of these areas while exploring equine ritual at the Qing court. What was the significance of a horse ritual that was situated in the Qing Imperial Household Department? What role did horses and officials of the main equine management organization, the Ministry of Imperial Stables, Herds, and Carriages (Ch. Shangsiyuan), play in the horse spirit ritual?

By reflecting on such questions, she will provide insights into the ways in which practices that transgressed the human-animal divide also served state practice.  

About the speaker

Dr Sare Aricanli is a historian of early modern and modern China. Her research focuses on the social and cultural history of medicine, with a particular interest in broader geographical, temporal, and cultural connectivities.

Her recent work has, for example, discussed the activities of a seventeenth-century Chinese author of popular medical texts, as well as the state’s management and care of horses in eighteenth-century China. She is currently completing a monograph on pluralities, institutional reorganisation, and cultural exchanges within Chinese state medicine over the long eighteenth century. 


This event is open to the public and free to attend, however registration is required

Please note that this seminar is taking place on campus and will not be recorded or live-streamed.

  • Chair: Dr Lars Laamann, Senior Lecturer in the History of China, SOAS University of London
  • Organiser: SOAS China Institute and SOAS Department of History
  • Email: sci@soas.ac.uk