One of the leading historians of the Song period offers an empirically rich and well-informed book that is especially good on material culture and the history of technology. Kuhn offers strong overviews of the transformation of the capital cities, education and examination, commerce, and the Song fiscal system, as well as lively discussions of religious beliefs, the study of natural phenomena, and private life in the public sphere. For readers who want an in-depth look at mid-imperial Chinese history and culture, Dieter Kuhn's Age of Confucian Rule
promises to become the book of choice. (Paul Jakov Smith, Haverford College)
The first four chapters of this well-researched, clearly written book present a balanced synopsis of the political, institutional, and military history of Song and its neighbors during some three centuries, when this was 'the most advanced civilization on earth.' The remaining eight chapters deal with thought, life cycle rituals, poetry and painting, education and the examination system, dynastic capitals, the world of production, money and taxation, private lives, and the public sphere. The author's enthusiasm is matched by his erudition and outstanding expertise in Song material culture as he ranges widely from the plethora of goods for sale in bustling shops and markets to the origins of foot binding, and finds space for dental hygiene as well as tomb construction...Scholars already versed in the period can learn much from this book, while those just beginning to delve into Chinese history are very well served. (C. Schirokauer Choice
[An] admirable account of the Song dynasty...This series on China, brilliantly overseen by Timothy Brook, is a credit to Harvard University Press. Above all, it encourages us to think of China in different ways. (Jonathan Mirsky Literary Review
One hopes [Kuhn's] work will find a larger audience, for he has much to teach to general readers, world historians, and China specialists alike. (Mark Halperin American Historical Review
2010-06-01)The Age of Confucian Rule
is a book that everyone who teaches Chinese history should have on his or her shelf and consult frequently...The attention [Kuhn] gives material culture is refreshing and helps him to make his case for the importance of China in Song times. (Patricia Ebrey International Journal of Asian Studies
About the Author
Dieter Kuhn is Professor and Chair of Chinese Studies, University of Würzburg.
Timothy Brook is Professor of History and Republic of China Chair at the University of British Columbia.