Suzhou: Where the Goods of All the Provinces Converge

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Stanford University Press, 2005 - Social Science - 369 pages
Before Shanghai, there was Suzhou: a city of canals and commerce, gardens and scholars, the largest noncapital city on earth between 1400 and 1850. This book shows how, though Suzhou entered the Ming dynasty defeated and suspect, interactions between the imperial state and local elites gave rise to a network of markets that fostered high-quality local specialization. Population growth and economic expansion followed, as did the acceptance of conspicuous consumption, critical distance from the imperial state, and the dissolution of traditional barriers between scholar-officials and merchants.

These developments shaped Suzhou s artistic and literary creativity, and made possible the continued success of its sons in the imperial examinations. Thus political success, cultural creativity, and economic centrality, the author argues, enabled Suzhou not just to influence the region, but to reshape the empire.

 

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Contents

Suzhou and Its Hinterland
19
Suzhou under Hongwu
60
Cooption and Near CollapseSuzhou 13981430
90
Suzhou from Zhou Chen to Wang Shu
108
Economy and Society
127
Suzhou 15061550
187
the Wokou Crisis to the Fall of the Ming
221
Population
249
Bibliography
327
Glossary
353
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About the author (2005)

Michael Marme is Associate Professor of History at Fordham University."

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