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In a new study of the Qing government’s 1826 experiment in sea transport of government grain in response to the collapse of the Grand Canal (1825), Jane Kate Leonard highlights how the Daoguang Emperor, together with Yinghe, his chief fiscal adviser, and Qishan, Governor-General of Liangjiang, devised and implemented this innovative plan by temporarily stretching the Qing bureaucracy to include local “assistant” officials and ad hoc bureaus ( ju) and by recruiting ( zhaoshang) private organizations, such as merchant shippers, dockside porters, and lighterage fleets. This is significant because it explains how the Qing leadership was able to respond successfully to crises and change without permanently expanding the reach and expense of the permanent bureaucracy.
Bureaucrats, Merchants, Artisans, and Mining Laborers in Qing China, ca. 1680s–1830s
Author: Hailian Chen
Hailian Chen’s pioneering study presents the first comprehensive history of Chinese zinc—an essential base metal used to produce brass and coin and a global commodity—over the long eighteenth century. Zinc, she argues, played a far greater role in the Qing economy and in integrating China into an emerging global economy, than has previously been recognized. Using commodity chain analysis and exploring over 5,800 items of archival documents, Chen demonstrates how this metal was produced, transported, traded, and consumed by human agents. Situating the zinc story within the human-environment framework, this book covers a broad and interdisciplinary range of political economy, material culture, environment, technology, and society, which casts new light on our understanding of early modern China.
Volume Editor: Keiko Nagase-Reimer
This volume sheds light on the important role of copper in early modern Sino-Japanese trade. By examining the demand for copper and the policy on copper procurement in Japan and China as well as the role of Osaka merchant houses, this volume provides a new slant on the “life” of Japanese copper – from production and distribution to consumption. In addition, papers on other significant traded products such as sugar, seafood, and books give us a better understanding of Sino-Japanese trade overall. The latest discussions on this field, which were mostly published in Japanese, have been brought together in this book and made accessible to an English-speaking audience.
Contributors include: IMAI Noriko, IWASAKI Yoshinori, LIU Shiuh-Feng, MATSUURA Akira, and Keiko NAGASE-REIMER.
Author: Ulrich Theobald
In his book War Finance and Logistics in Late Imperial China, Ulrich Theobald shows how the Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911) overcame the tyranny of logistics and successfully enlarged the territory of its empire. A detailed analysis of the long and expensive second Jinchuan war (1771 – 1776) in Eastern Tibet demonstrates that the Chinese state ordered its civilian officials as well as the common people, merchant associations, and different ethnic groups to fulfil and to foot the bill for the “common cause”. With increasing military success the state gradually withdrew from its responsibilities, believing that a War Supply and Expenditure Code (Junxu zeli) might offset the decreasing skill in and readiness to imperial leadership.
Volume Editors: Nanny Kim and Keiko Nagase-Reimer
Mining, Monies, and Culture in Early Modern Societies explores substantial and methodological issues in the early modern history of mining for monetary metals and monies of Japan, China, and Europe. The largest group in the thirteen articles presents empirical research on mining, metallurgy, and metals trade in the context of global trade systems. Another group focuses on the effects of money in government and everyday life. Several articles investigate scroll paintings and material remains as sources for the history of technology, or apply Geographic Information Systems to the analysis of spatial dimensions of mining areas.
In Gold and Jade Filled Halls: A Cognitive Linguistic Study of Financial and Economic Expressions in Chinese and German Shelley Ching-yu Hsieh offers an account of how we use financial linguistic expressions every day. They include various linguistic vehicles and cultural models that are related to the real world, such as gold, the stock market, animals, and plants. The cross-linguistic research benefits the understanding of the cultural value and model of cognition embedded in languages. It also provides useful strategies for learning language and possible social factors that influence human behaviors.
New Evidence from Currencies, Salts and Revenues
In Marco Polo was in China Hans Ulrich Vogel offers an innovative look at the highly complex topics of currencies, salt production and taxes, commercial levies and other kinds of revenue as well as the administrative geography of the Mongol Yuan empire. The author’s rigorous analysis of Chinese sources and all the important Marco Polo manuscripts as well as his thorough scrutiny of Japanese, Chinese and Western scholarship show that the fascinating information contained in Le devisament dou monde agrees almost pefectly with that we find in Chinese sources, the latter only available long after Marco Polo’s stay in China. Hence, the author concludes that, despite the doubts that have been raised, the Venetian was indeed in Khubilai Khan’s realm.