Manchu a window into forgotten past

By Zhao Xu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-04-03 07:32:26

Archaic language is helping historians to solve Qing mysteries, as Zhao Xu reports.

A bereaved emperor who condemned his son to a life of confinement, a bright prince entangled in a deadly political struggle, and a long-gone royal mansion that stood witness to all the love, hate and sadness - Yan Chongnian would have had no chance to uncover this distant past if he did not "hold the key".

"That key was my knowledge of the Manchu language," the historian said, referring to the language used by the rulers of China's last feudal dynasty, the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).

Manchu a window into forgotten past

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