ASH3402: Traditional China 3
Traditional China evokes a vision of a virtuous emperor in the center, who, with the help of a cumbersome bureaucracy, broadcasts to the empire timeless Confucian ethical principles such as loyalty and filial piety, so as better to govern a stable and compliant agrarian society. Fortunately, this apparently rigid mold proves, more often than not, to be plastic. Broken up by periods of chaos and upheaval, traditional China features a flamboyant pageant of characters- megalomaniacal emperors, devious palace women, sycophantic poets, wandering scholars, calculating merchants, scheming ministers, daoist mystics, and rebel peasants claiming appointments from heaven-who collectively flaunted, challenged, and reshaped its structure.