Telling Southern Minority Nationalities to the Public
This chapter examines the role of nationality/ethnology museums as a form of knowledge dissemination, artifact collection/exhibition, and academic research. The construction of the discourse of China being a unified multinationality country was not only completed by investigation, institutionalization, legalization, and historical writing, but also by constructing nationality/ethnology museums as a major venue of collecting and exhibiting minority nationality’s material objects, cultural artifacts, technology, and costumes. In these museums, ethnological knowledge trickles down in contemporary China to the level of the popular audience, and the venue served the purpose of promoting and enhancing the state ideology of a multicultural Chinese nation by visualizing non-Han cultures. The museums, however, continue to use the trope of “primitiveness” to introduce minority nationalities, while some indeed demonstrate concerns about the preservation of cultural heritages and regionalism.