Zhou Confucianism? Ming Quality Control?

In an absolutely fascinating article on the modern petition redress system1 focusing on attempts by regional officials to prevent petitions from reaching a national office, the Financial Times sidebar, “Confucian Accountability” says China’s petition system dates back to the Zhou dynasty 3,000 years ago. It embodies a Confucian tradition that idealises an authoritarian yet benevolent […]

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Smoking in China

A good book answers your questions. A really good book answers questions you had not thought of yet. Apparently Tim Brook’s Vermeer’s Hat is a really good book, as it is already answering questions I did not know I had. Among the many topics Brook discusses (the book is about globalization in the 17th century) […]

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Ming Imperialism

I just found something interesting about the early Ming. It appears from the Ming Shi-lu that the Ming founder at first just sent envoys to various tributary states to inform them of the founding of the new dynasty. Within the next couple of years, however, new envoys were sent out. Envoys were sent to Annam, […]

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The uses of the past

I have been thinking about public history and the uses of the past a bit lately, and reading Craig Clunas’ Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China. Like all of his work it is very good, but I was interested in his discussion of the uses of the antique in Ming […]

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A simple Miscellany

Ralph Luker‘s uncovering of the wonderful linguistic debunkings of 1421 by Bill Poser and friends (in two parts; note: Is Menzies just making up words in Chinese, and if so, why do so many Chinese people seem to take him seriously? theory: he’s exploiting the linguistic uncertainty of diverse dialects.) reminded me that I’ve got […]

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Chasing Emperors

My wife found this pin in her collection, and has no recollection of how we got it. I did a little digging and found that the “Civil Air Patrol” was an airline which operated out of China — mainland and Taiwan — from 1946 to at least the mid 1960s. It was founded by Claire […]

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