China's Cultural Heritage

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Book Details

Author  Richard J Smith
Publisher  Westview Press
Publication Date   July 19, 1994
ISBN  0813313473
Pages  400

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Description

The Qing Dynasty (1644–1912)—a crucial bridge between “traditional” and “modern” China—was a period remarkable for its expansiveness and cultural sophistication. In this extensively revised and expanded edition of his highly regarded book, Richard J. Smith shows how the Chinese of the Qing Dynasty viewed the world; how their outlook was expressed in their institutions, material culture, and customs; and how China's preoccupation with order, unity, and harmony contributed to the remarkable cohesiveness and continuity of traditional Chinese civilization. In addition to offering a new and challenging interpretation of Chinese culture as a whole, he provides a fresh perspective on a wide variety of topics, from gender issues, philosophy, religion, and mythology, to language, aesthetics, and symbolism. He also examines a number of important but too-often neglected aspects of traditional Chinese daily life, including divination, food, music, sexual practices, festivals, child-rearing, and games.Based on the author's careful rethinking of certain themes and arguments presented in the first edition, this revised version of China's Cultural Heritage also draws heavily upon the enormous body of new scholarship on Chinese history and culture that has appeared in the last decade. Although focused primarily on the Qing Dynasty, the book not only sheds valuable light on the distant past but it helps us to understand China's contemporary problems of modernization. A concluding chapter systematically explores the legacy of traditional Chinese culture to the twentieth century.

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