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Yet it is a mistake to view any such society solely through the lens of criminal justice.

Those who did use it were members of secret societies affiliated with the Tiandihui 天地会: in North America, the Hongmen 洪门 or Chee Kung Tong 致公堂.

As early as the 17th century, rebels are supposed to have used Tianyun dates secretly to show their opposition to their rulers, the Qing Dynasty founded by China's Manchu conquerors.

Guo Xiuying, widow of Zheng Junda (an early leader of the Society killed by the Yongzheng government in a campaign), who together with Zheng’s sister threw herself into a river in Hubei when pursued by the Qing army.

The bodies of the two sisters-in-law were recovered by a fisherman, Xie Bangheng.

Meaning “Cycle of Heaven,” it appears in the position, right before a date, that in those days was reserved for the name of the current emperor.

In those days, the population of the region was devoted almost entirely to gold mining, and more than half were Chinese. The large central character is a made-up word that combines “tiger” with “harmony”.The latter is the designated character for the Fourth Lodge.

Most versions seem not to include images of deities and the founders of the Tiandihui. Its colors are bright, and the condition, except for an eaten-away corner, is excellent.The Chinese imperial government did not take such matters lightly.The presence of a Tianyun date, even if used in private, meant death for the writer plus, in all probability, his entire family.We do not know whether other copies of the1892 version exist.The editors of this website, as well as Mike Brundage on behalf of the Clinton Museum, would be grateful for any information that our readers may have.Such raids did not improve the public image of even the least violent and most public-spirited secret societies.