Enlightened Judgments, The, Ch'ing-ming Chi

Enlightened Judgments, The, Ch'ing-ming Chi : The Sung Dynasty Collection

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The Enlightened Judgments introduces everyday life in thirteenth-century China. The Sung Dynasty author of the collection brought together a host of documents selected from local judicial decisions and official papers to provide insights into contemporary life and its problems. It introduces a wonderful cast of Chinese characters-soldiers, merchants, gamblers, fishmongers, farmers, prostitutes, officials, local clerks, boatmen, military officers, Buddhist monks, lowly members of the imperial clan, local strongmen, and landlords. Relatives support one another or argue bitterly over property, abuse one another physically and verbally, or stand together resolutely in the face of outside trouble. Marriages, divorces, adoptions, inheritances, and commercial dealings of various sorts provide the core topics of the judicial decisions. Petty crimes-assaults between fishmongers, extortions by fishermen, even dressing in drag-are mixed with brutal stories that touch on torture, homicide, and enslavement. No other work so vividly portrays the difficulties of daily life in China a millennium ago. This work offers translations of the original texts, introductions that set these pieces in context, and headnotes to each entry which provide a brief guide to clarify the content of the selection.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 580 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 29.46mm | 798g
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • English
  • Total Illustrations: 0
  • 0791442446
  • 9780791442449

Review quote

"McKnight and Liu have produced a good translation of valuable material." -- China Review International "The Enlightened Judgments is an outstanding work. It could be the most important book published in Sung studies in the last decade or more, and it will be of considerable importance to the study of other periods of Chinese history, as well as to scholars and students of world history, local government, and comparative law." -- Bettine Birge, University of Southern California "This is an extremely significant topic and work. The Ch'ing-ming Chi is one of the most important sources for the socioeconomic history not only for the Sung, but for all of premodern China. As the introduction explains, the complete version of the work was only discovered in the 1980s, making it easily the most important newly discovered work in Sung history. Moreover, save for snippets in several books and dissertations, it has not been published in English." -- John Chaffee, author of The Thorny Gates of Learning in Sung China, New Edition
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About James T.C. Liu

Brian E. McKnight is Professor of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Law and Order in Sung China.

James T. C. Liu was Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. He was the author of China Turning Inward; Qu-yang Hsiu: An Eleventh Century Neo-Confucianist; and Reform in Sung China.
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