China: A Global Studies Handbook by Robert André LaFleur

By Robert André LaFleur

Throughout its imperial golden a long time, China used to be the world's so much constructed state, domestic to complex applied sciences, a powerful economic system, and thriving towns. Its hundreds of thousands of years of cultural and creative achievements mixed with its vastness and ethnic complexity have made China either interesting and forbidding for these encountering it for the 1st time.

This new quantity bargains readers a concise, single-stop advent to chinese language heritage, tradition, economics, politics, and social matters. As they hint China's historical past from the production tales of historic chinese language myths to the Communist upheaval of the twentieth century, readers will learn the way the rustic has changed—and no longer changed—from early to fashionable instances, and what lifestyles all through China is like today.

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This book will seek a balance between these perspectives, showing the wonderful new perspectives we have gained from our knowledge of archaeological discoveries that continue to clarify assumptions about the origins of Chinese culture. It will not, however, like some recent works, dismiss the rich mythological and even magical narrative of China’s past as outdated because of new discoveries. A vital balance should remain. With all of the details that we have added to our knowledge of China’s past with archaeological discoveries, the fact remains that much of the previous three millennia have been informed by earlier anecdotes, myths, and legends.

The capital of Chang’an became a magnet for travelers on the Silk Road and beyond. It was a place of elegance and even decadence that can best be represented by the emperor’s 100 trained horses who danced, with teacups in their mouths, in vibrant yellow halters to music played by court musicians. From dancing horses and the splendid poetry of Li Bo and Du Fu, to polo matches and hawking, the Tang’s eighth-century elegance masked the increasing bureaucratic and military weakness of the state. The later years of Xuanzong’s reign saw the solid framework of the first century of Tang rule undone by an emperor and bureaucracy meandering aimlessly through more than a decade of a leadership vacuum.

He, too, is described as strong and capable yet unworthy of the kingship he inherited. In imitation of Jie, he was said to have wild orgies on ponds of wine. His excesses continued with severe punishments, including making accused people walk over greased rods above hot coals. If they fell, they were pronounced guilty. He even shot passersby with arrows, it is said, in order to examine their still-warm organs. Zhou, too, was overthrown, and his severed head exhibited on a post for all to see. The exaggeration in these tales is clear enough, but they had a profound effect on political thought in Chinese history.

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