This article explores how chieftains on the southwest periphery during the Ming-Qing transition conducted long-term plans to formulate cultural and literary heritages that had an affinity with Han Chinese mainstream culture but also retained indigenous qualities. The author demonstrates that the boundaries between Han and non-Han peoples became more negotiable with the enterprising efforts of chieftains to “perform” civilization by way of literary activities. The discussion centers on Rongmei jiyou (My Travel to Rongmei), a travelogue in diary form by early Qing scholar and playwright Gu Cai.

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