Ming and Qing China

Map during the time period.


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From Ming to Qing China, 1644-1760
Tignor, Robert. Worlds Together Worlds apart. New York: W.W. Norton&Company, 2002.


Economic Backdrop


The Economy of the Ming and Qing empires was referred to as one of the largest in the world. During the rule of the Ming and the Qing empire china was one of the wealthiest empires of the time. Due to the demand for Chinese goods across Europe and other parts of Asia China had become very rich, in fact the Ming had acquired 31% of the worlds GPD.[1] However, due to the fact that silver was the main form of currency and china was very strict with trade outside of its borders, all transactions that were made with china were paid in silver. Mainly Europeans but other countries as well used New World silver or Bullion (uncoined silver or gold).[2] This increased China's economy greatly but because China had to coin the Bullions of silver before it could pay its merchants and peasants it cost the government weakening the economy greatly. This mainly happened because the pressured poor relied on that silver to pay their taxes the government put in place and in order to purchase goods. When silver was abundant peasants would face inflammation and when they where scarce they could not meet their obligations to state officials resulting rebellion. The government did its best to restrict this but by the seventeenth century the Ming dynasty fell leading to the Qing dynasty taking control.


[1] Tignor, Robert. Worlds Together Worlds apart. New York: W.W. Norton&Company, 2002.
[2] Tignor, Robert. Worlds Together Worlds apart. New York: W.W. Norton&Company, 2002.



Political Backdrop


While the Ming was in power the emperor was the head. He was the decision maker of his empire in order to contain his control. According to Tignor During Hongwu's reign he would make over 1,600 decisions per day all dealing with separate matters of his empire.(1) All other decisions were made by the massive bureaucracy of the Ming that was made from ambitious men who had outstanding performances on their civil service exams. This exam was created in order to allow non-wealthy Chinese to, based on their scores, a chance to become part of the massive bureaucracy and become part of the elite class of the Chinese. This allowed the government to keep a close reign on the most intelligent of its citizens and limit their expansion of understanding keeping the government in complete control.
1.) Tignor, Robert. Words Together Worlds apart. New York: W.W. Norton&Company, 2002

Timeline




Aspects of Culture

Social Backdrop

The social structures of the Ming and the Qing were almost identical. The general order of social status was: the Emperor at the top, just below him his consorts, wives, and attendants, below them were the bureaucrats and nobles, then came the artisans and warriors, the peasants, and the merchants were the lowest. Merchants were seen as the lowest in society because they did not produce anything to contribute to society, they only profited from selling things others produced, whereas peasants were highly regarded, as a whole not individually, as the base on which all society is built. Any person who passes the civil Service exam in given a place in the bureaucracy, so that class was open to whoever worked hard enough. The artisan class contains all those who take goods from the peasants and refine them, it also included the warriors, but during these dynasties the warrior class was not as prominent as in some other Chinese societies. The social structure was based off of Confucianism, which stressed the importance of family and promoted familial relationships as the bedrock of society. As such the Emperor was seen as a caring and loving "Grandfather" to the social "family" because Confucianism promoted Patriarchy, and established the eldest male in the family as the ruler over the family. Gender relations all favored males and females were considered the servants of their male counterparts. Women were also encouraged to and honored for staying chaste after they were widowed, whereas a man could and would remarry. Another point about male-female relationships is that, among the upper class, almost all marriages were done to build alliances, not for any measure of love between the two parties, and the woman had virtually no say in the proceedings. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the Chinese were very isolationist, preferring to trade only within their domain and only interact with outsiders when forced to. This mentality led, strangely enough, to a dependence on foreign silver.


Education

Due to the printing press that was invented in china in the 1500’s the Chinese had become one of the most knowledgeable people of the time. Books were much cheaper, as cufusian classics only cost a half a tael of silver. This allowed even the lowest tutor to collect a fair personal library.[1] Top sellers where those on how to pass the civil service exam. Young men interested in passing the Civil Service exam would usually be of the higher middle class because you would have to hire a Tudor in order to have a chance at passing the exam, however anyone who was able to afford education was able to learn. As in earlier periods, the focus of the examination was classical Confucian texts, while the bulk of test material centered on the Four Books outlined by Zhu Xi in the 12th century.[2] Ming era examinations were perhaps more difficult to pass since the 1487 requirement of completing the "eight legged essay", which was based from essays off progressing literary trends.[3] The exams increased in difficulty as a student progressed from the local level on up, and appropriate titles were accordingly awarded successful applicants. Officials were classified in nine hierarchic grades, each grade divided into two degrees, with ranging salaries (nominally paid in piculs of rice) according to their rank.[4] While provincial graduates who were appointed to office were immediately assigned to low-ranking posts like the county graduates, those who passed the palace examination were awarded a jinshi ('presented scholar') degree and assured a high-level position.[5] In 276 years of Ming rule and ninety palace examinations, the number of doctoral degrees granted by passing the palace examinations was 24,874. [6]


[1] Tignor, Robert. Worlds Together Worlds apart. New York: W.W. Norton&Company, 2002.

[2] Asia For Educators, "An innovative of the weather head East Asian Institute of columbia University/ for students and Educators at all levels." Accessed November 4, 2012. are.easia.columbia.edu/tps/1450.htm
[3]
Asia For Educators, "An innovative of the weather head East Asian Institute of columbia University/ for students and Educators at all levels." Accessed November 4, 2012. are.easia.columbia.edu/tps/1450.htm

[4]
Pomeranz, Ken. Asian Topics and world history, "China And Europe 1500-2000 and beyond what is Modern?." Accessed November 4, 2012. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/chinawh/web/s5/s5_2.html.

[5]
Pomeranz, Ken. Asian Topics and world history, "China And Europe 1500-2000 and beyond what is Modern?." Accessed November 4, 2012. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/chinawh/web/s5/s5_2.html.

[6]
Pomeranz, Ken. Asian Topics and world history, "China And Europe 1500-2000 and beyond what is Modern?." Accessed November 4, 2012. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/chinawh/web/s5/s5_2.html.


Architecture


Architecture of the Ming and Qing

The architecture of the Ming and the Qing was all very symbolic in meaning both spiritually and in life. Buildings where designed to show power and strength as well as harmony and unification. Buildings like the Forbidden City and structures like the great wall, showed the great power of the empire while monasteries and buildings of ancestral worship showed peace and tranquility.









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The Forbidden City, seen at sunrise from Coal Hill Park. It was the official imperial household of the Ming and Qing dynasties from 1420-1924.



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Lama temple: detail showing 18th century



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The Great Wall of China built to secure the Chinese from any invasion from the surrounding nomadic tribes. It was built in 220- 206 BC by the first emperor of china, Qin Shi Haung.

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Sian : palace of glorious purity; Ext : (Hua Chi’ing Kung) Gardens




Classic literary texts

These four stories are, mostly, spliced together versions of historical events, oral tradition, and legends.

  • Water Margin
    • Water Margin tells the tale of 108 outlaws, who live during the Song dynasty, who form an army to escape and battle society until they are given amnesty by the Emperor.
    • After the Emperor grants them amnesty, he sends them on campaigns against foreign invaders who are threatening to topple their society.
    • This is similar to the western tale of Robin Hood, in that it is centered on a band of outlaws who resist and were cast out of society, but on a larger scale in that there are 108 outlaws in Water Margin and only about 40 or so in Robin Hood.

  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms
    • This is the story of the period between the end of the Han dynasty and the formation of the Eastern Jin dynasty
    • This period is known as the Three States period, because of the three dynasties who were each vying for control, and was a very turbulent time in China’s history.
    • The interesting part of this book, however, is that it showcases the Chinese belief that time is cyclic. It does this even with the first line, which states “It is a general truism of the world that anything long divided will surely unite, and anything long united will surely divide”

  • Journey to the West
    • This is a more religious novel dealing with a pilgrimage made by a Buddhist monk to retrieve sacred scripts of his religion from India during the Tong dynasty
    • This is based off of a real series of events in which a monk actually did journey to the west along the silk road to India to bring back sacred manuscripts
    • This is significant because it gave the Chinese more information about, what they thought of as, western cultures.

  • Dream of the Red Chamber
    • This novel is a semi-autobiography written by the author as a memorial to the women from his youth.
    • The Dream of the Red Chamber is significant in that it was written in the mid 18th century and designed to also be a commentary on the rise and slow decline of the Qing empire.
    • It compares the Qing empire to a Chinese noble family that falls out of favor with the emperor and is subsequently destroyed by the emperor.
    • This novel is also noted for its large cast of characters, with some parts mentioning up to 400 minor characters[1].

[1]"The Dream of the Red Chamber." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_of_the_Red_Chamber.

Religion

The Chinese religion included Chinese folk religion and the three teachings of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Chinese folk religion was based on ancestral worship where the belief was that you prayed to your ancestors in heaven and they they would pass on your wishes to the higher ancestors (those who when they had died that had a higher status than your family). These ancestors would then pass it on to the heaven god. [1] However they did have a connection on earth between them and the heavens, the Emperor. When an emperor came into power he would be considered the mandate of heaven. This meant that the gods where in his favor giving the emperor a divine status above all others.[2] The emperor would then, in order to maintain the people’s belief that he was the mandate, would be portrayed as the moral and spiritual benefactors of his subjects. He would do this on at least 90 occasions in the year engage in sacrificial rights, and provide symbolic communion between the human and the spiritual worlds. These lavish festivities reinforced the ruler’s image as mediator between otherworldly affairs of the gods and worldly concerns of the empires subjects.[3] The Ming Empire was mainly tolerant with other religions such as Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and even Islam. However they were against Christianity and during the first year of Hongwu’s rein it was even outlawed due to the fact that it was considered a cult to the Chinese government that could threaten their power. Here is a brief summary of the introduction and growth of each religion present in China during the Qing Empire
  • Dao/Taoism
    • Daoism is one of the few religions/methods of thought that originated in China. Daoism was founded by Lao Tzu and is a philosophy that attempts to fully embrace nature. Taoists attempt to become one with nature and apply the principles of nature to their lives. They also stress the corruption that society holds for the unwary. Like China’s other unique school of thought, Confucianism, it was compatible with almost all other religions, as it was more of a way of life than a belief system. It is called either Taoism or Daoism, but is more often called Daoism by the native people.
  • Confucianism
    • Confucianism is not strictly a religion, but I am including it in this section because it is a school of thought that heavily influenced by the Ming and the Qing dynasties. Confucianism stressed the family as being the bedrock of society and the family hierarchy as being the perfect model for society. This can be seen, as mentioned above in the Social Backdrop section, in that the Emperor was considered to be the “Grandfather” of the entire social family, as, according to Confucianism, the eldest male in the family was the ruler or leader of the family.
  • Islam
    • Islam was not incredibly prevalent in China, but they were a faction of the society and, as such, were accorded with religious tolerance. Islam was first transmitted to China along the Silk Road during the Tang dynasty[1], but only through traders and merchants. However, during the reign of the Yuan dynasty many easy transportation to and from China allowed Islam to be more fully incorporated during this time period, and under the Ming they even got attached to a nationality: the Hui.
  • Christianity
    • Christianity never really flourished in China as it clashed to strongly with the ancestor worship involved in Confucianism. Christianity started infiltrating China again, after the rejection by the Ming, during Kangxi’s reign with the rise in the European sea trade. However, the Pope at that time, Pope Clement XI, officially excommunicated any converts who continued the Confucian practice of ancestor worship, even though Kangxi had declared these practices civil rituals not religious ones[2]. In response Kangxi threatened to expel from China any who did not agree with his decree.[3] Due to this conflict, Christianity never thrived in China and remained an insignificant minority.
  • Buddhism
    • Buddhism was the most successful outside religion in China. It was introduced to China in 150 A.D. and, after the century it took to assimilate it into Chinese culture[4], it quickly grew in popularity due to its similarity to Daoism and the Buddhist monks’ blending of the two when preaching. Buddhism also fit well with Chinese people’s day to day lives, as it was not that demanding of its subscribers. Another reason Buddhism thrived was because it was able to garner the patronage of a few emperors pretty early in its integration into Chinese society.

[1]“A Brief Introduction to Islam in China.” http://www.islam.org.hk/eng/eislaminchina05.asp.
[2]World History: The Modern Era, s.v. "Kangxi," accessed November 5, 2012. http://worldhistory.abc-clio.com/.
[3]Ibid
[4]“Buddhism in China.” http://asiasociety.org/countries/religions-philosophies/buddhism-china.
Include primary source-
http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/ps/cup/zhang_xingyao_christianity_confucianism.pdf



[1] Xingyao Zhang. “ An Examination Of The Similarities And Differences Between The Lord Of Heaven Teaching (Christianity) And The Teaching Of The Confucian Scholars.” 4. Accessed Nov. 1st.2012. afe.easia.columbia.edu/PS/cup/zhang.
[2] Tignor, Robert. Worlds Together Worlds apart. New York: W.W. Norton&Company, 2002.
[3] Tignor, Robert. Worlds Together Worlds apart. New York: W.W. Norton&Company, 2002.

Artistic Innovation

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Three colored vase

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Landscapes after ancient Masters; Fanggu Shanshui



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Vase found in the tomb of prince Lin Sheng
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Flowers and Birds; detail of a bird style of Qian Xuan (chi'ien Hsuan) first half of the 14th century
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Twelve views of tiger hill, Suchou; detail with pagoda. Shen Zhou after 1490


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Adomitions of the instructress to the court caddies: det: final scene Gu, Kaizhi 344-405

Pictures found from: "Artstor," http://library.artstor.org/library/welcome.html#2/270/featured20groups.

Observations about what we have learned.

We have learned that China during the late Ming and early Qing was relatively the same. We have also been very impressed by the education system in China and the enormity of the civil service exam. It has also been very interesting to see that how religiously tolerant China actually was and how the Emperors managed to fit all religions together. On this note the social hierarchy was also interesting in that it was completely family based, with close ties between each of the families in each of the classes. Another point about the class system is that it was not particularly rigid, with the civil service essentially allowing anyone to become one of the ruling elite. This was different from most other societies in that they had rigid class systems, with almost no room for movement of any kind.

Bibliography


Bibliography-

  1. Tignor, Robert. Worlds Together Worlds apart. New York: W.W. Norton&Company, 2002.
  2. Asia For Educators, "An innovative of the weather head East Asian Institute of columbia University/ for students and Educators at all levels." Accessed November 4, 2012. are.easia.columbia.edu/tps/1450.htm
  3. Pomeranz, Ken. Asian Topics and world history, "China And Europe 1500-2000 and beyond what is Modern?." Accessed November 4, 2012. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/chinawh/web/s5/s5_2.html.
  4. "The Dream of the Red Chamber." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_of_the_Red_Chamber.
  5. Xingyao Zhang. “ An Examination Of The Similarities And Differences Between The Lord Of Heaven Teaching (Christianity) And The Teaching Of The Confucian Scholars.” 4. Accessed Nov. 1st.2012. afe.easia.columbia.edu/PS/cup/zhang.
  6. "Artstor," http://library.artstor.org/library/welcome.html#2/270/featured20groups.
  7. “A Brief Introduction to Islam in China.” http://www.islam.org.hk/eng/eislaminchina05.asp.
  8. “Buddhism in China.” http://asiasociety.org/countries/religions-philosophies/buddhism-china.
  9. World History: The Modern Era, s.v. "Kangxi," accessed November 5, 2012. http://worldhistory.abc-clio.com/.
  10. www.Youtube.com


Resources to try:

Hayden Library Portal You can also find this link by going to Podium and finding the Hayden Library Link on the right side of the page.
ARTSTOR - a GIANT repository of examples of art: searchable by time, location, and type. Note that most of them have descriptions which are helpful for composing summaries. It is found in the DATABASES tab.

360 virtual tours This link takes you to the Ottoman Empire. By searching for 360 tour and the name of a specific site you can often find an online tour. Some can be embedded.

Saudi Aramco World a great source for cultural resources for the Islamic World and parts of Africa.

Internet Source Books At the top there is a directory that will move you to other regions. Helpful for finding primary source accounts.
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History at the Met Provides samples, essays that explain the periods and production techniques. Note the thematic categories in the bottom right of the introductory page.

British Museum World History Timeline Set to open in Asia, you can move about the globe.

British Museum Cultures Gives an overview. The top right of each page gives a selection of items from the museum.

British Library contains descriptions of and digitized images of cultural artifacts and texts.

Louvre - in English

Asia for Educators Great for East Asia resources

Search of PBS.org will also yield a number of resources on Japan, India, etc.

You can also use Google Books, Google Scholar, and Advanced Search to get the specific information you need. DO NOT perform a general search....

Grading:

F: Follows directions but steals material. Both footnotes (or endnotes) and a bibliography (in Chicago Manual of Style format) are expected. You can change text using the T button to create superscript numbers.1 In short, treat the project like writing a research paper. There should be a caption under each picture that gives the name, originator, date, and source. Paragraphs and descriptions should be your writing, not another author's work pasted in with a few key words changed using the thesaurus function in Word.
D: Follows directions, cites sources, doesn't complete the project, is riddled with errors. It is evident that the team failed to use its time well.
C: Follows directions. Pastes the correct items into the correct places but takes no care in explaining the choices made. Uses less than six sources. Text is SLOPPY - no proofing!
B: Follows directions. Describes the choices made using complete sentences and clear language. Labels items correctly. Cites sources. Organizes the visuals. The paragraphs are clearly written, but general in nature.
A: Does B - but, shows some extra care, thought and research. An A has a "Wow" factor. This does not mean more color or flying moneys. It means that the content selected does a great job TEACHING about the culture of the in that region in that time period.
grading cultures wiki rubric.doc
grading cultures wiki rubric.doc

grading cultures wiki rubric.doc

This is the rubric that I have used in the past. It functions well as a checklist.
grading cultures wiki rubric.doc
grading cultures wiki rubric.doc

grading cultures wiki rubric.doc