This volume deals with the social legislation of Zhu Yuanzhang, who founded the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), following the era of Mongol rule in China. It recounts the circumstances under which the laws were enacted and what the Emperor claimed he was trying to accomplish - a restoration of traditional Chinese social norms. The contents of several codes are discussed in terms of the groups to which they applied and the range of activities they purported to regulate.
The early Ming codes formed one of the most comprehensive and cohesive bodies of law in all of Chinese history. Taken as a group, they constituted an autocrate's blueprint for the ideal society. The texts of three codifications - an imperial clan constitution, a general summary of the laws, and guidelines for village life - are translated as appendixes.
Edward L. Farmer, Ph.D. (1968) in History and Far Eastern Languages, Harvard University, is Professor of History and East Asian Studies at the University of Minnesota. He was editor of the journal
Ming Studies for ten years (1975-1985) and is author of
Early Ming Government: The Evolution of Dual Capitals (1976) and co-author of
Ming History: An Introductory Guide to Research (1994).
...the most important study of Zhu Yuanzhang in twenty years...[The translations will not only aid Ming scholars but make it possible for students to have access to some of the most important texts of the Ming.
All those interested in national identity, autocracy, social control, Chinese law, Confucianism, and the history of late China.