China and the Manchus

China and the Manchus

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China and the Manchus

China and the Manchus

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Excerpt

The Manchus are descended from a branch of certain wild Tungusic nomads, who were known in the ninth century as the NÜ-chêns, a name which has been said to mean "west of the sea." The cradle of their race lay at the base of the Ever-White Mountains, due north of Korea, and was fertilised by the head waters of the Yalu River.

In an illustrated Chinese work of the fourteenth century, of which the Cambridge University Library possesses the only known copy, we read that they reached this spot, originally the home of the Sushên tribe, as fugitives from Korea; further, that careless of death and prizing valour only, they carried naked knives about their persons, never parting from them by day or night, and that they were as "poisonous" as wolves or tigers. They also tattooed their faces, and at marriage their mouths. By the close of the ninth century the NÜ-chêns had become subject to the neighbouring Kitans, then under the . . .

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