Brush, Seal and Abacus: Troubled Vitality in Late Ming China’s Economic Heartland, 1500–1644
This book is a study of the social and cultural change in Ming China's lower Yangzi delta region from about 1500 to 1644. It takes three social groups—literati, scholar-officials, and merchants—as the framework for discussing the political, socio-economic, and cultural forces that coalesced and reinforced one another to influence and facilitate the region's change. A still wider perspective reveals how the region's political ties with the state and commercial links with external markets impacted the region for better and for worse. The book also discusses the literati's reflection and discourse, which their participation in the change generated, on the issues of morality, money, politics, and disorder. The book evokes the richly textured social and cultural life of Ming China's heartland in an age of commercial and cultural vigor, which then descended into distress and despair. For scholars and for others conversant with Chinese history, and Ming history in particular, the extensive use of literati sources and the references to contemporary scholarship will be of interest.
Columbia University Press
Zhao, Jie. Brush, Seal and Abacus: Troubled Vitality in Late Ming China's Economic Heartland, 1500-1644. The Chinese University Press, 2018.