Jennifer W. Jay
This paper will examine the presence and representation of eunuchs from 1500 to 1800. It will argue that the process of sinicization does not adequately explain the practice of employing eunuchs in the Qing court. The diminished roles and functions of Qing eunuchs are better explained by the Manchu Altaic system, which shared residual tribal traditions with other conquest dynasties—the Khitan Liao, the Jurchan Jin, and the Mongol Yuan. In particular, the paper will re-examine the place of eunuchs in the Qing ethno-dynastic order on the basis of their representation in two paintings in the University of Alberta’s Mactaggart Art Collection—Kangxi’s Southern Inspection Tour Scroll 7 and Qianlong’s Southern Inspection Tour Scroll 2.