Lecture 1: The Culture of Commerce
I. Ming Dynasty at a Glance (recap)
- “Guesstimates”—85 millions (1393; official record: 60m) … 155m (1500) … 231m (1600) … 268m (1650)
- Organization—provinces (13+2), prefectures (159) … subprefectures (234) … counties (1171)
- Villages—”village compact” … li jia 里甲 system
II. Commercialization and Urbanization
- Expansion of trade—domestic … international
- Merchant networks—salt and other commodities
- Urban culture—vernacular literature … Tang Xianzu 湯顯祖 (1550–1616) … Peony Pavilion … Feng Menglong 馮夢龍 (1574–1646) … “The Four Masterworks” (The Water Margin … Romance of the Three Kingdoms … Journey to the West … Plum in the Golden Vase)
III. Literati Life
- Civil service examinations—”Four Books” … Eight-legged essay (1487) … provincial quota … sheng yuan 生員 (government students; 100,000 in the 16th century) … ju ren 舉人 (provincial degree) … jin shi 進士 (highest degree; 2,000–4,000 at any given time; 1 out of 10,000 adult males)
- Symbiotic relationship between wealth and status—e.g. in one county in the lower Yangzi region, 19 of the 85 jin shi degrees came from 3 family lines.
- A matter of taste—antiques … gardens … amateur ideals
Lecture 2: Intellectual Reorientation
I. Zhu Xi’s Orthodoxy
- li 理 (principle; pattern) and qi 氣 (energy; “psycho-physical stuff”)
- “Investigation of things” (ge wu 格物)
- “Four Books“—Analects 論語, Mencius 孟子, Doctrine of the Mean 中庸, Great Learning 大學
II. Wang Yangming 王陽明 (1472–1529)—scholar …philosopher… official …military general
- Background—Zhejiang … jin shi (1499) … political exile (1507–10) … suppression of rebellions (1516, 1519, 1527-28) … Confucian Temple (1584)
- Innate knowing (liang zhi 良知)
- Unity of thoughts and actions
III. Wang’s Followers
- Wang Ji 王畿 (1498-1583)—”I saw the streets were filled with sage humans.”
- Wang Gen 王艮 (1483–1540)—public lectures
- Li Zhi 李贄 (1527–1602)
- What is the point of Monkey? Is it a satire, an allegory, or a mindless farce?
- How are the Three Teachings represented in the story?
- Though the story is set in the Tang dynasty, what can it tell us about Ming society?
Source: National Museum of Chinese History, ed., A Journey into China's Antiquity, vol. 1 (Beijing: Morning Glory Publishers, 1997), pp. 8–9.
Physical Map by Satellite
- Brook, Timothy. The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998.
- Dardess, John W. A Ming Society: T'ai-ho County, Kiangsi, Fourteenth to Seventeenth Centuries. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996.
- de Bary, Wm. Theodore, ed. Self and Society in Ming Thought. New York: Columbia University Press, 1970.
- Plaks, Andrew H. The Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.
- Twitchett, Denis, and Frederick W. Mote, eds. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 8: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.