The Emperor’s Coffer: the Qing Imperial Fiscal Separation Between Privy Purse and State Treasury, 1644 to 1912


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants




Usually considered as the summit of despotic rule in Chinese history, the Qing, however, displayed tremendous complexities in its institutional arrangements such that seemingly “despotic” arrangements were often countermanded by institutional checks generated in them. This project proposes to understand a fundamental paradox of Qing history, by examining an unusual yet understudied fiscal arrangements that separated the privy purse from state treasury. By providing a historical account of the imperial fiscal separation during the Qing, this project will not only address a major gap in our knowledge concerning institutions and the Qing emperorship, but suggest new ways to understand the classic “minority rule” question.