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    A Tale of Two Melons: Emperor and Subject in Ming China (Paperback) By (author) Sarah Schneewind

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    DescriptionA commoner's presentation to the emperor of a lucky omen from his garden, the repercussions for his family, and several retellings of the incident provide the background for an engaging introduction to Ming society, culture, and politics, including discussions of the founding of the Ming dynasty; the character of the first emperor; the role of omens in court politics; how the central and local governments were structured, including the civil service examination system; the power of local elite families; the roles of women; filial piety; and the concept of ling or efficacy in Chinese religion.

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  • Full bibliographic data for A Tale of Two Melons

    A Tale of Two Melons
    Emperor and Subject in Ming China
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Sarah Schneewind
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 176
    Width: 140 mm
    Height: 211 mm
    Thickness: 10 mm
    Weight: 204 g
    ISBN 13: 9780872208247
    ISBN 10: 0872208249

    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC subject category V2: HBTB
    BIC E4L: HIS
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1FPC
    BIC subject category V2: JHMC
    B&T Merchandise Category: TXT
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.3
    B&T General Subject: 431
    BISAC V2.8: HIS008000, SOC002010
    LC subject heading: ,
    DC22: 306.0951/09023
    LC classification: HN733 .S35 2006
    DC22: 306.095109023
    Thema V1.0: JHMC, NHTB
    Thema geographical qualifier V1.0: 1FPC
    Illustrations note
    b/w illus
    Hackett Publishing Co, Inc
    Imprint name
    Hackett Publishing Co, Inc
    Publication date
    01 October 2006
    Publication City/Country
    Cambridge, MA
    Author Information
    Sarah Schneewind is Associate Professor of History, University of California at San Diego.
    Review quote
    Undergraduates will join specialists in enjoying this feast of melons. Schneewind's marvelous little book is at once a primer in some key aspects of China's traditional civilization and history, as well as a case study of an obscurely understood event that took place in 1372, in the reign of Taizu, founder of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). When two melons share a single stalk, and a local grower presents the anomaly to the emperor, the symbolism, the intentions of the giver, the reaction of the recipient, and the meaning of the whole act to observers and later commentators turn out to be anything but straightforward. Divergent interpretations began immediately, and continue to the present day. --John Dardess, University of Kansas Building on an apparently tiny incident in 1372, Sarah Schneewind has conjured up an absorbing evocation of Chinese imperial power, the ambiguity of omens, and the unpredictability of fate. This concise and finely crafted book also provides a grand introduction to the ways historians (both then and now) think, work and present their findings. --Jonathan Spence, Yale University Schneewind offers sharp insights into the structure and daily workings of premodern Chinese society and government and t he subtle forces that acted to temper absolute imperial power. Especially appealing is the metaphor of a social and political fabric perpetually in process of weaving, as exemplified by the complex interplay between center and peripheries, near and far; between individuals, products, and texts; between the formally empowered and the relatively powerless, whether ruler and subject or men and women; between the human, natural and supernatural worlds; and between past, present, and future. A rich and original study that wears its erudition lightly and presents a wealth of detail in highly readable form. --Joanna Waley-Cohen, New York University
    Table of contents
    On a Lacquer Tray; With the Emperor Said; Up from the Garden; The Zhang Family; The Smile of the God; Retelling the Melon Story; Movements and Exchange in the Ming Empire; Major Dynastic Periods of Chinese History; Reign Periods of the Ming Dynasty; Chronology of Main Events; The Zhang Family; The Zhang Family Tree; Types of Documents; Notes.