Books about cities in Imperial China

Sep 2018
49
Germany
Hello,

Im looking for scholarly books or papers about cities in Imperial China, preferably in the Song and the Ming periods. Of interest to me are topics like city cultural and communal life, social care, administration and organization of commerce and craftsmanship as well as sanitation and hygiene and crime/police system.

Thanks in advance.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,181
Canary Islands-Spain
This is for you



I read it, excellent insight into the late Song Hangzhou
 
Sep 2018
49
Germany
This is for you



I read it, excellent insight into the late Song Hangzhou
Thank you very much.

I know about this book already, sadly it was written in 1962, 58 years ago. I am afraid that it might be outdated and am looking for more recent works.
 
May 2009
1,356
This is a thesis paper rather than a book, but it's as detailed and thorough as a book. It's about the Sung capital Hangzhou. You can download it free online.

Sung Hang-chou: Its growth and government institutions

Another great (and more recent) book is A Social History of Middle-Period China: The Song, Liao, Western Xia and Jin Dynasties. It's filled with daily life details for all the dynasties listed. It's huge and expensive, so maybe you might want to look for it in a library first.

There are also good books that deal with the subjects you mention individually like:

(policing) Law & Order in Sung China
(crime) The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection
(crime/political unrest) Bandits, Eunuchs and the Son of Heaven: Rebellion and the Economy of Violence in Mid-Ming China
(commerce & craftsmanship) Chinese Merchant Guilds: An Historical Inquiry, and also Purchase on Power: Imperial Space and Commercial Space in Song-Dynasty Kaifeng, 960-1127
(articles on JSTOR)
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,181
Canary Islands-Spain
Thank you very much.

I know about this book already, sadly it was written in 1962, 58 years ago. I am afraid that it might be outdated and am looking for more recent works.
Consider that modern papers are usually junk material working on this kind of old works
 
May 2009
1,356
I think Gernet's book holds up because he's drawing a lot from original Chinese descriptions of Hangzhou and Kaifeng.
 
May 2009
1,356
Basic city organization in the Ming followed the Baojia system established in the Sung and also the fangxiang system of the same era. Baojia was for organizing the people and fangxiang (wards and lanes) applied to real estate. 20 households formed a jia and 10 jia made a bao (or sometimes a pu ). A ward (fang or later tu ) was the equivalent of a neighborhood and contained multiple bao . Each ward was subdivided into lanes. Each lane (or most lanes) had a ceremonial arch at both ends. I think each lane represented one bao but I could be wrong. Each ward had an elected headman called a baozheng (or some other title, there were several) who was usually just the most important man in the neighborhood. He acted like a go-between for the people and the central government (I think they had police powers too in later dynasties). Every ward also had it's own neighborhood temple that was looked after and supported by the local families. All these systems evolved and changed over time so it really depends on which city and when.