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The Empire of Min
A South China Kingdom of the Tenth Century
by Edward Schafer, Agassiz Professor of Oriental Languages, University of California
  • By the eminent Sinologist Edward H. Schafer, author of a range of highly readable books on Chinese history
  • Recounts a story of peace, economic prosperity, and cultural growth in southern China at a time when the north was ravaged by war and decline

  • Schafer shows the fascinating political issues of the day, and its colourful characters and their machinations come alive

  • This is a limited reprint incorporating corrigenda compiled by the author

The period between the fall of the Tang dynasty in 907 and the establishment of the Song in 960 has not been treated kindly by historiansand is often dismissed as a bleak chapter in Chinese history, a half-century of national disunity and anarchy. However, while it is true that the north was continually ravaged by attacks, the south enjoyed a time of peace, economic prosperity, and cultural growth.

This engaging study examines one of those kingdoms, the so-called Empire of Min, centred in the coastal and semi-tropical present-day province of Fujian. Schafer describes the geography, government, and political structure of Min, as well as its economy, arts, literature, and religion. This is far more than a compilation of dry translated excerpts from dynastic histories; rather the interesting economic and political issues of the day are made clear, and its colourful characters and their various machinations come alive. We see how the Empire of Min, although it survived for just a half century, nevertheless played a pivotal role in the transition between the Tang and Song dynasties, the two great cultural peaks of medieval China. This limited reprinted work incorporates the corrigenda compiled by Professor Schafer.

Published by Floating World Editions
Publ. 2006, 146 pp.
ISBN 1 891640 36 4, paperback, 23.99