By William Wooldridge
All through Nanjing's heritage, writers have claimed that its amazing panorama of mountains and rivers imbued town with "royal qi," making it a spot of significant political importance. City of Virtues examines the methods a chain of visionaries, drawing on earlier glories of town, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they built structures, played rituals, and transformed the literary background of the town. greater than an city background of Nanjing from the past due 18th century until eventually 1911―encompassing the Opium struggle, the Taiping career of the town, the rebuilding of town via Zeng Guofan, and makes an attempt to set up it because the capital of the Republic of China―this examine indicates how utopian visions of the cosmos formed Nanjing's direction during the turbulent nineteenth century.
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Extra resources for City of Virtues: Nanjing in an Age of Utopian Visions
1630s–1670s) and Gao Cen (ca. 13 On the other hand, portrayals of a ruined city or laments for the former glory of previous dynasties could serve as criticisms of the Qing court. On tours, emperors sought to gain control over the ideas that sites in Nanjing might inspire. The process of encountering the city’s traces of the past (guji), drawing moral lessons from the encounter, and reflecting on one’s own identity took place throughout China. In Nanjing, however, emperors sought through their ostentatious occupation of the city to disarm a particular discourse of opposition to the Qing dynasty and to limit the capacity of local elites to propose alternative readings of the cityscape.
These offerings were important because in the ideology of the Mandate of Heaven, the ruler currently holding the Mandate is responsible for making offerings to previous dynastic founders. If others were to perform the ritual, it would be tantamount to sedition. Not mentioned in the essay but also contributing to the importance of the city were the educational, administrative, and economic institutions located there. Nanjing’s examination compound was the center of exams for the Lower Yangzi region, which in the eighteenth century had the lion’s share of qualified candidates.
In this context, the ruins of the Ming palace had meaning. They conveyed conquest; the invasion of China by Qing forces, the surrender of Nanjing to those forces in 1645, and the continued occupation of the former imperial city by a Qing banner garrison. All of these signs revealed Nanjing to be a subjugated place. The presence of an ethnically distinct emperor riding into the city and presenting its history to its residents highlighted this truth of conquest. And yet (uneasily, paradoxically) the emperor’s essay also asserted its position in a Chinese-language genre of nostalgia, evoking a sentiment that suggested not only the passage of time but the transfer of the Mandate of Heaven, a gesture that reached across the ruptures between The Qianlong Emperor’s Toursâ•… [â†œ2 9â†œ]â†œ dynasties and (at least in theory) joined Kangxi to a lineage of Chinese emperors stretching back into antiquity.