By Jinba Tenzin
The tale underlying this ethnography started with the hot discovery and commercialization of the remnant of an historic “queendom” at the Sichuan-Tibet border. Recorded in classical chinese language texts, this mythical matriarchal area has attracted not just travelers however the vigilance of the chinese language country. Tenzin Jinba’s study examines the implications of improvement of the queendom label for neighborhood ethnic, gender, and political identities and for state-society family.
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Extra resources for In the land of the eastern queendom : the politics of gender and ethnicity on the Sino-Tibetan border
Therefore, scholars commonly use various unfi ltered accounts of different queendoms from the Book of Sui, the New Tang History, the Old Tang History, or other historical canons in describing the ancient practices of this specific queendom in western Sichuan. Some also identify these features among today’s Gyarongwa residing in the Jinchuan region, who are believed to descend from the ancient queens and their subjects. In this way, an equation between Gyarong and the Eastern Queendom is roughly established.
But because of persistent petitions and protests from former nobles who were recruited by the Party into the leadership in today’s Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan, the Gyarongwa were officially recognized as Zangzu in 1954; however, the Gyarongwa’s Tibetan identity has been questioned by other Tibetans and scholars ever since. The majority of Tibetans either deny the Gyarongwa’s Zangzu status or proclaim the inadequacy of their Tibetanness. As a result, many Gyarongwa feel that they are marginalized, and some choose to identify with the Khampa, as the Suopowa and other Danba people tend to do.
In the early 1950s, the political situation was still volatile and a number of rebellions had arisen in Tibetan and other regions. Thus, support from those who had been tusi and nobles, and still had the loyalty of their former subjects and commoners, was essential for the Party’s maintenance of stability in Tibetan regions. This compromise awakened both the Gyarongwa’s consciousness as Zangzu and their sense of marginalization among Zangzu. In point of fact, the ethnic identification project has had a very profound impact on officially identified ethnic minorities and on ethnic relations in China.