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China on the sea [electronic resource] : how the maritime world shaped modern China /
by Zheng Yangwen.
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, c2012.
ix, 362 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
9789004194779 (hbk. : alk. paper)
More Details
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, c2012.
9789004194779 (hbk. : alk. paper)
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Facing the seas -- "The inconsistency of the seas" -- Feeding China -- Cette merveilleuse machine -- Les palais europeens -- "Wind of the west" -- Pattern and variation: indigenisation -- "Race for oriental opulence" -- Conclusion.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [327]-352) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-07-01:
Imperial China had the means but not the will to be a great maritime power; life on the sea was generally left to individual choice, not government action. Traditionally, the Chinese perceived the ocean to hold great resources, perhaps even the secrets of immortality, yet it was dangerous and awesomely vast. Zheng (Univ. of Manchester, UK) argues that largely because of foreign initiatives, interactions via the sea shaped China as much as interactions with the continent. Although government attention overwhelmingly focused on the land, pirates proved a constant coastal problem but did not threaten regime change; however, until the gunpowder age, the nomadic peoples of Inner Asia periodically did. The author emphasizes the early Qing period (China's last imperial dynasty) when Europeans and Chinese shared a fascination for the exotic goods of the other, such as European clocks or Chinese rosewood furniture, transported over the sea. A useful guide for others wanting to explore an understudied subject, the book offers much fascinating information buttressed with an excellent bibliography, including many works in Chinese. Zheng interposes many questions that require further research, nicely illustrating the extensive but ill-defined reach of maritime history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. C. Perry Tufts University
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, February 2012
Choice, July 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Generations of Chinese scholars have made China synonymous with the Great Wall and presented its civilization as fundamentally land-bound. This volume challenges this perspective, demonstrating that China was not a 'Walled Kingdom', certainly not since the Yongjia disturbance in 311.
Description for Reader
All those interested in maritime China, European expansion in Asia, the Jesuits mission to Ming-Qing China , Chinese Diaspora to and China's relationship with Southeast Asia.
Main Description
Generations of Chinese scholars have made China synonymous with the Great Wall and presented its civilization as fundamentally land-bound. This volume challenges this perspective, demonstrating that China was not a Walled Kingdom , certainly not since the Yongjia Disturbance in 311. China reached out to the maritime world far more actively than historians have acknowledged, while the seas and what came from the seas from Islam, fragrances and Jesuits to maize, opium and clocks significantly changed the course of history, and have been of inestimable importance to China since the Ming. This book integrates the maritime history of China,especially the Qing period, a subject which has hitherto languished on the periphery of scholarly analysis, into the mainstream of current historical narrative. It was the seas that made Tang China a Cosmopolitan Empire (Mark Lewis), the Song dynasty China s Greatest Age (John Fairbank), China at 1600 the largest and most sophisticated of all unified realms on earth (Jonathan Spence), and the reign of the three Qing emperors (Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong) China s last golden age (Charles Hucker).

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