Author: Zhang Zhengming
Pub Date: April 2021
The fruit of late historian and accomplished Chu expert Zhang Zhengming’s long anddedicated research, A History of Chureveals the intriguing history of a powerful feudal state in the Zhou dynasty.Chu, once deemed southern “barbarians,” gradually rose to prominence on theshores of the Yangtze as the Zhou court weakened. With King Zhuang recognizedas hegemonial lord towards the late Spring and Autumn period, the Chu subduedmany Central Plain states and eventually survived into the Warring Statesperiod as a major power. From its emergence to the realization of its ambitiousconquests and regional hegemony, the Chu state, with its vast territory, boasteda culture that was distinctly different from the Central Plain states.
ZhangZhengming spent years studying and gathering both historical records andarchaeological finds, carefully compiling his findings into a Chu-centricnarrative that previous studies of traditional Chinese history have lacked. A History of Chudocuments the entirety of the Chu’s remarkable and dramatic existence.
Volume 1 begins with anexamination of the legendary origins of the Chu ruling house, and gives a vividaccount of how the “barbarian” state Chu broke away from the suzerainty of theZhou court and established itself as an independent kingdom. This is followedby an explanation of how the Chu rapidly expanded into NorthChina and consolidated its power by absorbing lesser states.
Zhang Zhengming(1928–2006) was a pioneer of Chu studies and prominent researcher of ethnicminority history. A graduate of Tsinghua University, he started his career ingovernment ethnic minority committees in the 1950s. In 1979, his firstmonograph A History of the Khitans wonhim wide recognition in the field of minority historical studies, and in 1981,he facilitated the founding of the Chu Research Institute at the Hubei Academyof Social Sciences. He was Professor at the School of History and Culture ofCentral China Normal University and held vice presidency positions at theChinese Association for Nationality History and the Chinese Association ofQuyuan. His other notable works include A History of Chu Culture (1981), A Chronicle of Chu Culture (1988), A History of Ethnic Communitiesalong the Yangtze Valley (2006),and Qin and Chu (2007).