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Creative Environment, Creative Subjects
Approaching the prison as a creative environment and imprisoned officials as creative subjects in Ming China (1368-1644), Ying Zhang introduces important themes at the intersection of premodern Chinese religion, poetry, and visual and material culture. The Ming is known for its extraordinary cultural and economic accomplishments in the increasingly globalized early modern world. For scholars of Chinese religion and art, this era crystalizes the essential and enduring characteristics in these two spheres. Drawing on scholarship on Chinese philosophy, religion, aesthetics, poetry, music, and visual and material culture, Zhang illustrates how the prisoners understood their environment as creative and engaged it creatively. She then offers a literature survey on the characteristics of premodern Chinese religion and art that helps situate the questions of “creative environment” and “creative subject” within multiple fields of scholarship.