Mountain Rivers, Mountain Roads: Transport in Southwest China, 1700‐1850


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.

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Nanny Kim, PhD (2000) is a research fellow at Heidelberg University. She employs historical and geographical approaches in researching transport systems, mobilities, mining and landscape transformations with a main focus on southwestern China before the industrial period.
Notes on Place Names and Measures
List of Illustrations

 1 Research Questions
 2 The Geography
 3 The Period
 4 Book Structure

1 Transport Systems and the Southwest
 1 Introduction
 2 Transport Technologies
 3 Transport Zones
 4 The Southwest
 5 Conclusion

2 The Gorges’ River
 1 Introduction
 2 Perspectives and Sources
 3 Shipping on Mountain Rivers
 4 The Gorges’ River
 5 Shipping Volumes
 6 Navigation through the Gorges
 7 The Industrial Transformation
 8 Conclusion

3 The Boats
 1 Introduction
 2 The Late Traditional mayangzi
 3 The Texts
 4 Miscellaneous Records
 5 Distributions of mayangzi and qiuzi
 6 Conclusion

4 Boatmen at Work
 1 Introduction
 2 Representations
 3 Tasks on Board
 4 Conclusion

5 The River Society
 1 Introduction
 2 Structures for Divine Protection and Mutual Help
 3 The Composite Incomes of Boatmen
 4 Incomes and Living Standards
 5 Women and Families in River Society
 6 Household Economics
 7 Conclusion

6 The Gorges’ River as a Waterway
 1 Introduction
 2 Forests and Shipping
 3 River Engineering
 4 Rescue Services
 5 Conclusion

7 The Roads into Yunnan
 1 Introduction
 2 The Routes
 3 Transport Volumes
 4 Transport Technologies
 5 Conclusion

8 Mint Metals and Transport Networks
 1 Introduction
 2 Yunnan Copper and Guizhou Zinc for the Imperial Mints
 3 The Routes Out of Yunnan and Guizhou
 4 Infrastructure Development Projects
 5 Infrastructure Maintenance
 6 Conclusion

9 Private Philanthropy and Transport Networks
 1 Introduction
 2 Road Projects
 3 Bridges and Ferries in Zhenxiong and Yongshan
 4 Conclusion

10 Muleteers, Porters, and Cart Drivers
 1 Introduction
 2 Part 1: Quantitative Reconstructions
 3 Part 2: People in the Transport Trade
 4 Discussion

11 Transport Systems and Trans-regional Integration
 1 Introduction
 2 Synthesis
 3 Economics
 4 The Costs of Transport
 5 Conclusion

Appendix 1: Annotated Bibliography of Sources on Late Traditional Shipping on the Upper Changjiang

Appendix 2: Boats and Boatmen of the Gorges’ River in Late Traditional Accounts

Appendix 3: Rare Primary Materials on the Upper Changjiang

Appendix 4: Glossary of Key Terms in Upper Changjiang Shipping

Appendix 5: Transporters of the Southwest in Late Traditional Accounts

Appendix 6: Notes on the Reconstruction of Transport Volumes on the Zhaotong and Weinings Roads ca. 1890–1900 in Tables 7.2 and 7.3

Appendix 7: Reconstructions of Transport Efficiencies
All interested in the economic history of China, in comparative transport history, in the history of technology, of everyday life and in environmental history.