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The Capital of the Yuan Dynasty

The Capital of the Yuan Dynasty

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AuthorChen Gaohua
ISBN: 9789814332446
eISBN: 9789814339551
Pub Date: May 2014
Pages: 224    Size: 7"x10" Hardcopy

The first publication of its kind offering comprehensive research on China’s ancient capital, Dadu (Khanbaliq)

The Yuan Dynasty was different from other dynasties in the history of China, and so was its capital, Dadu, the city that laid the foundation for what would become modern-day Beijing.
As the first publication of its kind, The Capital of the Yuan Dynasty presents the capital’s history using a thematic approach. Starting from Beijing in the pre-Yuan Dynasty period, and the building of Dadu as a new city, the author introduces the layout of the city and imperial palaces, and then focuses on Dadu in detail from political, economic, and cultural angles.
The Capital of the Yuan Dynasty references over 100 Chinese classics of the Yuan and succeeding dynasties, including Yuanshi (History of Yuan), Xijinzhi jiyi (Compilation of the Scattered Writings of the "Gazetteer of Xijin"), and Tongzhi tiaoge (Legislative Articles from the "Comprehensive Regulations").

Insights from contemporary prose, poetry and references from Goryeo Korea (Nogŏltae and Pak T’ongsa) complement the text. 


"Before the arrival of the Mongols, present-day Beijing was the site of the Jin capital under the Jurchens.  After it was sacked by Genghis Khan in 1215, the city was virtually laid waste.  Later, the Mongols built a separate city north of the Jin capital site, which substantially overlapped the Ming-Qing city of Beijing.  In 1267, Genghis Khan’s grandson Kublai Khan designated it as his main capital, Dadu, and went on to found the Chinese-style Yuan dynasty there in 1271.  The city lost its capital status in 1368 when Mongol rule in China was overthrown.  Originally written in Chinese and translated into English, this book is authored by a well-known Song-Yuan scholar in the PRC and is a worthwhile effort to systematically examine various aspects of Dadu, including its prehistory, construction, layout, and political, economic, and cultural life, and ends with a chapter devoted to a brief history of the city in the last days of the Yuan dynasty.  It cites a rich body of modern, especially traditional, Chinese sources."

Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.

-- V.C. Xiong, Western Michigan University

"CHEN Gaohua is one of the best-known Chinese scholars in Yuan Studies. His book Yuan Dadu published in 1982 was translated into Japanese in 1984, and into Mongolian language in 1985. The English translation by Phoebe Poon is a creditable contribution to the research literature of Yuan history in the western world. The glossary of personal names, building names and official titles is a handy reference tool for general readers, and Yuan studies scholars may find it useful, too."

-- Xian Wu, Michigan State University

"Chen Gaohua has provided an excellent textbook for all students and researchers on the Yuan capital and has opened up a treasure-trove of sources hitherto inaccessible to the English speaking world.
His treatment of this early period sets the tone and style for the rest of the book which is solid with detail, decorated with primary-sourced quotations, and supported by plentiful citations. What soon becomes obvious and what marks this book out from all other studies of the Yuan period currently available in English is that Chen’s sources are all Chinese."

-- George Lane, SOAS, University of London


Chapter 1 Beijing Prior to the Establishment of Dadu
Chapter 2 The Construction of Dadu
Chapter 3 The Layout of Dadu
Chapter 4 The Political Life of Dadu
Chapter 5 The Economic Life of Dadu
Chapter 6 The Cultural Life of Dadu
Chapter 7 Dadu during the Late-Yuan Peasants’ Rebellions 

About the Author

Chen Gaohua is the Director at the Institute of History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He was the Director of the Research Center of the Song, Liao, Jin, and Yuan Dynasties. He is the author of The Overseas Trade in the Song and Yuan Dynasties, The Capital of the Yuan Dynasty, and Research of the Yuan Dynasty. He was also the co-translator of the Cambridge History of China (The Qin and Han Dynasties).



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