Author: Nanny Kim
The commercialized economy of late imperial China depended on efficient transport, yet transport technologies, transport economics as well as its role in local societies and in interdependencies of environments and human activities are acutely under-researched. Nanny Kim analyses two transports systems into the Southwest of Qing China through the long eighteenth century and up to the mid-nineteenth century civil wars. The case studies explore shipping on the Upper Changjiang in Sichuan and through the Three Gorges into Hubei, and road transport out of the Sichuan Basin across northeastern Yunnan and northwestern Guizhou into central Yunnan. Specific and concrete investigations of a river that presented extreme dangers to navigation and carriage across the crunch zone of the Himalayan Plateau provides a basis for a systematic reconstruction of transport outside the lowland centres and their convenient networks of water transport.
Author: Nanny Kim

Abstract

This article investigates a series of projects for the improvement of shipping conditions of the Upper Yangzi in 1805-'40. The enterprise was undertaken by two Hankou merchants, one of whom published his 'Brief Account of the Taming of the Rapids'. An analysis of the detailed data of this source provides insights into navigation conditions and rates of environmental change on a major river, and into a major infrastructure project undertaken as merchant philanthropy. This paper proposes a perspective on water transport in pre-industrial China against a wider temporal and cultural backdrop, with a particular reference to private philanthropy as a set item within the moral economy. Cet article examine une série de projets destinés à améliorer les conditions de la batellerie dans le Haut Yangzi entre 1805 et 1840. Cette entreprise fut menée à l'instigation de deux marchands originaires de Hankou, dont l'un publia un « Bref compte-rendu sur la domestication des rapides ». L'analyse des données détaillées que contient ce document offre un aperçu des conditions de navigation et des changements environnementaux affectant un grand fleuve, et permet de mieux comprendre ce vaste projet d'infrastructure conçu comme une forme de philanthropie marchande. Cet article propose de replacer le transport fluvial de la Chine préindustrielle dans un plus large contexte temporel et culturel, en insistant particulièrement sur le rôle de la philanthropie privée, considérée comme un pivot de l'économie morale.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
In: Southwest China in a Regional and Global Perspective (c.1600-1911)
In: Mining, Monies, and Culture in Early Modern Societies
In: Mountain Rivers, Mountain Roads: Transport in Southwest China, 1700‐1850
In: Mountain Rivers, Mountain Roads: Transport in Southwest China, 1700‐1850
In: Mountain Rivers, Mountain Roads: Transport in Southwest China, 1700‐1850
In: Mountain Rivers, Mountain Roads: Transport in Southwest China, 1700‐1850