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Wooden Bodhisattva statue, Jin Dynasty

The Jurchen , also Dschurdschen or Dschürdschen ( Jučen / Jurčen ; Chinese  女 眞  /  女真 , Pinyin Nǚzhēn (today's reading); older and actual reading: Rǔzhēn ) were a Tungus people in eastern Manchuria and the ancestors of the Manchu (the name Manchu became adopted in the 17th century). Their language was an ancient form of the Manchu language . A Jurchen script was developed from the Kitan .

The Jurchen presumably emerged from Siberian hunters who were sinized over time through contact with the Chinese residing in eastern Manchuria. They were first mentioned in 1069. In 1115 the tribal prince Aguda was crowned emperor and founded the Jin dynasty ; in the following years up to 1125 it overthrew the Liao dynasty of the Kiteans, who also came from Manchuria, then ruled northern China . After several campaigns against Manchuria, the empire reached its greatest extent in 1142. In the course of the Mongol storm at the beginning of the 13th century, the empire was conquered by the Mongols under Ögedei Khan in 1234 .

During the Ming Dynasty , which ended Mongol rule, the Jurchen lived as hunters and increasingly as farmers; they achieved prosperity mainly through the trade in ginseng . At that time the Chinese distinguished three groups of Jurchen: the "wild Jurchen" from northern Manchuria and the "Haixi-Jurchen" and "Jianzhou-Jurchen" living south of it. At the end of the 16th century, the tribal prince Nurhaci first united the Jianzhou Jurchen and finally these with the other Jurchen tribes; In 1616 he was crowned emperor and founded the Qing dynasty . From 1618 he began with attacks against northern China; after his death in 1626, his son Huang Taiji was his successor, who officially replaced the name Jurchen in 1635 with " Manschu ".


The Jurchen were engaged in shamanic rituals and believed in a heavenly deity (Abka Hehe, heavenly woman). When subjected to Confucian pressure in the Qing Dynasty, this female heavenly deity was transformed into a male one, the Heavenly Father (Abka-i Enduri, Abka-i Han). After the Jurchen conquered China in the Jin Dynasty, Buddhism became the predominant religion of the Jurchen. The impressive monastery complexes, statues and ceremonies were better suited for a state religion than shamanism. Although the Prince Hailing 海陵 王 believed in Buddhism, he forbade government officials to privately visit temples and pray for fame and fortune. The conqueror Shizong 金世宗 forbade private individuals to found monasteries, as Buddhist monasteries were only intended to serve as state representation.

The rulers of the Jurchen quickly realized that it would be of great advantage to support all currents of Chinese religions in the newly conquered areas. In particular the many new Daoist schools, which could find a lot of followers. The Jurchen were able to control the Daoist movement primarily through the awarding of honorable titles. Protecting the Taoist temples was also an important step in keeping the masses under control.

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Individual evidence

  1. University of Hamburg - Institute for Finno-Ugric Studies / Ural Studies> Library systematics: 96,311 Djurdschen (Jučen, Jurčen) ( Memento from August 29, 2014 in the web archive archive.today )
  2. The Xiàndài Hànyǔ cídiǎn «现代 汉语 词典», the Cíhǎi «辞海» and also the Guóyǔ cídiǎn « 國語辭典» only specify the pronunciation “Nǚzhēn”. In older dictionaries only (Rüdenberg, Stange: Chinese-German dictionary . 3rd edition. De Gruyter & Co., Hamburg 1963, Cram, p. 308 ( limited preview in Google Book search). ) or alternatively ( Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary . Revised American Edition. Cambridge, MA 1972, ISBN 0-674-12350-6 , pp. 664 (first edition: 1943). ) given the reading ju³ (corresponds to Pinyin ) for the first character .
  3. a b c d Jacques Gernet: The Chinese World. (= Edition Suhrkamp. 1505) Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-518-38005-2 .
  4. Ulrich Theobald: Chinese History - Jin Dynasty (Jurchen) 金 religion and customs