Emperor Huizong and Late Northern Song China: The Politics of Culture and the Culture of Politics

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Overview

Huizong was an exceptional emperor who lived through momentous times. A man of many talents, he wrote poetry and created his own distinctive calligraphy style; collected paintings, calligraphies, and antiquities on a large scale; promoted Daoism; and involved himself in the training of court artists, the layout of gardens, and reforms of music and medicine. The quarter century when Huizong ruled is just as fascinating. The greatly enlarged scholar-official class had come into its own but was deeply divided by factional strife. The long struggle between the Chinese state and its northern neighbors entered a new phase when Song proved unable to defend itself against the newly emergent Jurchen state of Jin. Huizong and thousands of members of his family and court were taken captive, and the Song dynasty had to recreate itself in the South.

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Editorial Reviews

Études chinoises
Huizong, the next-to-last emperor of the Northern Song, is one of the most interesting and least understood figures of the Song period. Patricia Ebrey's gripping account of the fall of the Northern Song, which opens the introduction to this book, begins to show us why...The image of Huizong that emerges from this volume is both remarkably consistent and strikingly different from the image portrayed in the conventional histories. In place of the superficial aesthete manipulated by his ministers, Huizong appears here as a talented and ambitious ruler for whom politics, art, religion, and public policy were all aspects of a seamless vision of perfect imperial influence.
— Beverly Bossler
Etudes chinoises

Huizong, the next-to-last emperor of the Northern Song, is one of the most interesting and least understood figures of the Song period. Patricia Ebrey's gripping account of the fall of the Northern Song, which opens the introduction to this book, begins to show us why...The image of Huizong that emerges from this volume is both remarkably consistent and strikingly different from the image portrayed in the conventional histories. In place of the superficial aesthete manipulated by his ministers, Huizong appears here as a talented and ambitious ruler for whom politics, art, religion, and public policy were all aspects of a seamless vision of perfect imperial influence.
— Beverly Bossler

The Historian

This collection provides fresh insights into late Northern Song historiography and the Huizong period. Its multiperspective analysis makes it an attractive reference source for specialists in Song history.
— Daniel J. Meissner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674021273
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 7/30/2006
  • Series: Harvard East Asian Monographs Series , #266
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 625
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Ebrey is Professor of History and Chinese Studies, University of Washington.

Maggie Bickford is Professor and Chair of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University.

Peter K. Bol is Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University.

John W. Chaffee Pressor and Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Program in the History Department at State University of New York, Binghamton.

Ronald Egan is Professor and Chair of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Paul Jakov Smith is John R. Coleman Professor of Social Sciences in the History Department at Haverford College.

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Table of Contents

Tables, Maps, and Figures

Abbreviations

Chronology

Contributors

Introduction

Part I: Court Politics and Policies

1. Huizong, Cai Jing, and the Politics of Reform
John Chaffee

2. Irredentism as Political Capital: The New Policies and the Annexation of Tibetan Domains in Hehuang (the Qinghai-Gansu Highlands) Under Shenzong and His Sons, 1068–1126
Paul Jakov Smith

3. Terms of Estrangement: Factional Discourse in the Early Huizong Reign, 1100–1104
Ari Daniel Levine

Part II: Imperial Ideology

4. Emperors Can Claim Antiquity Too—Emperorship and Autocracy Under the New Policies
Peter K. Bol

5. Tuning and Numerology in the New Learning School
Tsuyoshi Kojima

Part III: Extending the Imperial Presence

6. Huizong's Stone Inscriptions
Patricia Ebrey

7. Huizong's Impact on Medicine and on Public Health
Asaf Goldschmidt

8. Huizong and the Divine Empyrean Palace Temple-Network
Shin-yi Chao

Part IV: The Emperor and the Arts

9. Huizong's Palace Poems
Ronald Egan

10. Huizong's Dashengyue, a Musical Performance of Emperorship and Officialdom
Joseph S. C. Lam

11. Huizong's Paintings: Art and the Art of Emperorship
Maggie Bickford

Part V: Who's Telling the Story? Rethinking the Sources

12. A Textual History of Cai Jing's Biography in the Songshi
Charles Hartman

13. Crossing Over: Huizong in the Afterglow, or the Deaths of a Troubling Emperor
Stephen H. West

Index

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