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Rethinking Networks of Exchange and Material Culture
Silk Road studies has often treated material artifacts and manuscripts separately. This interdisciplinary volume expands the scope of transcultural transmission, questions what constituted a “book,” and explores networks of circulation shared by material artifacts and manuscripts. Featuring new research in English by international scholars in Buddhist studies, art history, and literary studies, the essays in Beyond the Silk and Book Roads chart new and exciting directions in Silk Road studies.
Contributors are: Ge Jiyong, George A. Keyworth, Ding Li, Ryan Richard Overbey, Hao Chunwen, Wu Shaowei, Liu Yi, Lan Wu, Sha Wutian, Michelle C. Wang, and Stephen Roddy.
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Sui-Wai Cheung’s study of the institutional history of copper coins in the Ming dynasty reveals how emperors and statesmen perceived and used the copper coins at their disposal. In this process, he uncovers the reality of the Sons of Heaven, showing that although Ming emperors seemed to have unlimited power, they could not afford the upkeep on their palace.

In this revealing history of Ming China, Cheung argues that especially after the breakdown of the household registration system, the aim of the Ming coinage system was to create a new source of income in order to maintain the emperor's domain in Beijing.