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China's Cultural Heritage: The Qing Dynasty, 1644-1912, Second Edition Hardcover – July 20, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0813313467 ISBN-10: 0813313465 Edition: 2 Sub

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press; 2 Sub edition (July 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813313465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813313467
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,669,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard J. Smith is professor of history and director of Asian Studies at Rice University.

More About the Author

Richard J. Smith is George and Nancy Rupp Professor of Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University in Houston, Texas. A specialist in modern Chinese history and traditional Chinese culture, with a strong interest in transnational, global and comparative studies, Smith has won twelve teaching awards while at Rice, including the Piper Professorship (1987), the George R. Brown Certificate of Highest Merit (1992), the Sarofim Distinguished Teaching Professorship (1994), the Nicholas Salgo Distinguished Teaching Award (1996), and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching "Texas Professor of the Year" Award (1998). Smith's books include Mercenaries and Mandarins: The Ever-Victorious Army in Nineteenth Century China (1978); Traditional Chinese Culture: A Brief Introduction (1978); Fortune-tellers and Philosophers: Divination in Traditional Chinese Society (1991); Chinese Almanacs (1992); China's Cultural Heritage: The Qing Dynasty, 1644-1912 (1994); Chinese Maps: Images of "All Under Heaven" (1996); Fathoming the Cosmos and Ordering the World: The Yijing (I Ching or Book of Changes) and Its Evolution in China (2008) The I Ching: A Biography (2012)and Mapping China and Managing the World Culture, Cartography and Cosmology in Late Imperial Times (2012). He has also co-edited or co-authored six volumes: Chinese Walled Cities (1979); Entering China's Service (1986); Robert Hart and China's Early Modernization (1991); Cosmology, Ontology, and Human Efficacy: Essays in Chinese Thought (1993); H. B. Morse, Customs Commissioner and Historian of China (1995); and Different Worlds of Discourse: Transformations of Gender and Genre in Late Qing and Early Republican China (2008). Smith is presently working on several articles and book chapters, as well as two books: (1) a revised edition of China's Cultural Heritage: The Qing Dynasty, 1644-1912 for Rowman and Littlefield and (2) a short book on popular science in late imperial China. Born in Sacramento, California in 1944, Smith had a brief flirtation with professional baseball before coming to his senses. He has been married to the long-suffering Lisa Smith for 45 years, and they have a delightful and talented son named Tyler.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Smythe on April 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a model for what a cultural survey should be. It begins with an excellent brief survey of Chinese history of the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, then surveys many things I wanted to know about an alien culture. I was most intrigued by the chapter on "Language and Symbolic Reference" (read after my brief traveller's survival course in Manderin). Dr. Smith explored not only the differences between the language and those of the West, but their implications for the Chinese style of thought: e.g., the spoken vocabulary is rich in homonyms and puns, leading to a style of reasoning by analogy and verbal similarity that comes far less naturally to speakers of the Romance languages.
Smith also covers, for instance, social class, economics, religion and philosophy, art, literature, popular culture...an endless parade of the things mere histories rarely mention.
This is certainly the most interesting book I've read in a decade. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Welch on March 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While there are many books that cover periods of Chinese history, there are far fewer that cover the cultural and mental landscape of those historical periods. This text is one of the few that truly succeeds in explaining how and why this specific period (the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911) was unique in China's history.

The very foreignness of the ruling elite, the Manchus, always ensured a distinctiveness to this reign. Yet it was additionally always the Manchu intent to tolerate, incorporate, and at times even promote those elements of the conquered Chinese society that would bring stability and success to the empire. The text's first three chapters on the Qing inheritance, political order and its social and economic institutions thus set the stage for the following chapters on language, prominent philosophies, religion, art, literature, social life, and emergence into the 20th Century.

The chapters on language (Ch. 5), art (Ch. 8) and literature (Ch. 9) are especially well-written; truly insightful in their understanding of these subjects and well-written in a style that is page-turning. I would have loved to have been an undergraduate in Professor Smith's class at Rice; he must be one of their leading instructors and it is clear that these well-written, easy-to-understand chapters are the result of having mastered the challenging task of making very complicated information easily understood (as the compiler of the "Mustard Seed Garden Manual" referred to below, wrote, "If you aim for simplicity, master complexity").
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Nuanced and wide-ranging, there is no better introduction to the texture of late Imperial Chinese culture and society than this volume.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book gives a detailed picture of Qing Dynasty which ruled China from 1644-1912. It also tells the creation of the mighty empire and how it end feudalism in China. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Chinese history.
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