New PDF release: A Portrait of Five Dynasties China: From the Memoirs of Wang

By Glen Dudbridge

ISBN-10: 0199670684

ISBN-13: 9780199670680

The anecdotal literature of late-medieval China isn't really unknown, however it is under-used. Glen Dudbridge explores collections of anecdotal memoirs to build an intimate portrait of the 1st 1/2 the 10th century as noticeable by way of those that lived via it. the writer Wang Renyu's grownup lifestyles coincided heavily with that interval, and his memoirs, although in a roundabout way transmitted, could be mostly recovered from encyclopaedia quotations. His event led from youth at the north-west border with Tibet, via provider with the dominion of Shu, to a mainstream occupation lower than 4 successive dynasties in northern China. He bore own witness to a few nice occasions, but in addition travelled broadly and transcribed fabric from a life of conversations with colleagues within the imperial Hanlin Academy.

The examine first units Wang's lifestyles in its old context and discusses the character and price of his memoirs. It then pursues a couple of underlying subject matters that run in the course of the collections, proposing approximately eighty precise goods in translation. jointly those provide a characterization of an age of inter-regional battle during which person lives, now not grand ancient narrative, shape the focal point. A nuanced self-portrait of the writer emerges, combining gains that appear alien to trendy values with others that appear extra familiar.

Four appendixes supply the textual content of the author's tombstone epitaph; an in depth checklist of his surviving memoir goods; info from tune catalogues at the early transmission of his writings; and Wang Renyu's personal definition of the 4 musical modes inherited from the Tang dynasty.

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Extra info for A Portrait of Five Dynasties China: From the Memoirs of Wang Renyu (880-956)

Example text

He had retreated to Luoyang after attempting to deal with an army rebellion led by his own general Li Siyuan 李嗣源, and was now killed by a stray arrow during a mutiny within the capital. Li Siyuan now became the new emperor Ming zong 明宗. Another thirteen days later the Prince of Wei would end his own life. Returning from his victorious expedition in Shu, he had been preparing a rapid movement to relieve Luoyang and had reached Weinan 渭 南, just downstream from the Western Capital, when he was persuaded that things had already gone too far.

88 A year later, in 938, he was entrusted with a diplomatic mission to the small kingdom of Nanping 南平 (also known as Jingnan 荊南), based at Jiangling 江陵 on the middle Yangzi. 89 The latter, using his position at the centre of China’s communications network, ran an opportunistic diplomatic policy which now brought him into dealings with the Later Jin. 858), where ‘an ambassador’ is sent with a hundred horses as a gift to Gao from the Jin emperor Gao zu. Four of Wang’s memoirs refer to this region (45, 80, 111, 143), one (80) making direct mention of the commissioner.

The kingdom fell, and the entire episode was witnessed and chronicled in detail by Wang Renyu, at his ruler’s side throughout. This will be the subject of Chapter 6. Lethal events now followed. Early in 926 the dethroned Later Ruler Wang Yan was taken with his family and officials under armed escort towards the Eastern Capital, Luoyang. When they reached the Western Capital orders came through to halt them there. One month later Zhuang zong issued a command to execute the entire party, numbering thousands.

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A Portrait of Five Dynasties China: From the Memoirs of Wang Renyu (880-956) by Glen Dudbridge


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