Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

This book is in two parts. Part One is an essay in which I address general questions about the upper class of traditional China. I do this by exploring conceptions of family life and property as elements in the culture of the upper class, elements singled out because of their importance in shaping the behavior that sustained upper class status. Thus this book differs from most studies of the...

Abbreviations

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p. ix

Part I. Class, Culture, Family, and Property

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1. Introduction

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pp. 3-29

In late imperial China (Sung through Ch'ing dynasties, A.D. 960—1911), the major social distinction routinely evoked was between shih-ta-fu (literati and officials) and everyone else. In social life, all the gradations of rank, wealth, and refinement that distinguished shih-ta-fu as individuals tended to be blurred. High officials could have brothers who were scholars, artists, estate managers, or...

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2. The Family in the Classical Tradition

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pp. 30-60

The meaning of any literary work can be fully uncovered only by comparing it with other works on similar or related subjects written by the author's predecessors or contemporaries. Did the author echo or subtly refute the ideas in earlier works? Did he write in an established genre? If so, did he push it in any new directions? If not, what were the ideas or sensibilities that he felt...

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3. Social Life and Ultimate Values

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pp. 61-80

Before comparing Yuan Ts'ai's ideas and assumptions about the family and its property with those of the classicists and philosophers just described, it is necessary to examine Yuan Ts'ai's larger set of values. Yuan Ts'ai was not, by inclination, an abstract, speculative, or systematic thinker; he did not try to decide which of men's many goals was most important in an ultimate scheme of values. Yet, running through his text are assumptions about what...

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4. The Harmony of Co-Residents

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pp. 81-100

Yuan T'sai saw around him many families whose home life was unpleasant. Among co-residents (t'ung-chii chih-jen), he found frequent "loss of affection" (shih-huan), his term for what we would call dislike or ill will. With loss of affection people became irascible and argumentative; sometimes their every action irritated...

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5. The Transmission of Property

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pp. 101-120

The transmission of property or other assets from one generation in a family to the next is essential if there is to be any stability in the membership of a social class. Shih-ta-fu in the Sung gave considerable attention to the issue of transmitting property, but they did not look on it as in any way related to the existence of their...

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6. The Business of Managing a Family

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pp. 121-155

Because the chia was a unit of political economy, not simply a group of relatives, its existence could be ended by the dispersal of its property. Consequently, to Yuan Ts'ai and to most classicists, managing the property of a chia was not a matter of petty details but a primary duty of the family head. Both the "Patterns for Domestic Life" in the Li chi and Ssu-ma Kuang's "Family Forms...

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7. Conclusions

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pp. 156-172

Yuan Ts'ai assumptions, perceptions, opinions, and strategies have been analyzed in the four chapters above. Sometimes it may have seemed as though his thoughts were analyzed too closely, considering that he was not an especially profound thinker. But that was on purpose. My goal has been to look at the preoccupations of a relatively normal upper class man with the attention to conceptual...

Part II. Precepts for Social Life

Abbreviations Used to Indicate Sources Quoting the Precepts

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pp. 174-174

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Preface

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pp. 175-176

Thinking about how to be good and how to bring others to become good are what the superior man concentrates on. Mr. Yuan Chiin-tsai of San-ch'u1 is a person of integrity whose conduct is refined. He is widely learned and has written extensively. With the talent of a thoughtful official, he has promoted morality and love in his service as magistrate. The music and singing...

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Author's Preface

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pp. 177-180

In recent generations, old teachers and experienced scholars have often collected their sayings into "Recorded Quotations," to be passed on to their students.1 Their goal has been to share with the world what wisdom they have acquired. But their points are involved and abstruse, beyond the reach of students, who do...

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1. Getting Along with Relatives

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pp. 181-230

The personal relations between fathers and sons and between older and younger brothers are the closest there are, and yet sometimes they are not harmonious. With fathers and sons, discord often is due to the father's high demands.2 With brothers it is often the result of disputes over property. In cases where neither of these is involved, outsiders who observe the disharmony...

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2. Improving Personal Conduct

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pp. 231-277

Human intelligence certainly varies; indeed there is a great gap between the highest and the lowest in mental capacity. A person with high intelligence sees everything when he looks on someone with lower intelligence, just as one who climbs a high spot can see far into the distance. But when those with inferior intelligence gaze...

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3. Managing Family Affairs

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pp. 278-321

In managing a family, you should see to it that the fence walls around your house are high and sturdy, the hedges dense, and the windows, walls, doors, and gates secure. Repair any damage promptly. If there are drainage outlets for water, put grates over them. Keep them new and strong and do not neglect them. Even though clever thieves will be able to find ways to enter in a moment...

Appendix A. Editions of the Precepts for Social Life and Their Transmission

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pp. 322-330

Appendix Β. Discrepancies Between the 1179 and 1190 Editions

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pp. 331-336

Glossary

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pp. 337-340

Sources Cited

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pp. 341-358

Index

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pp. 359-368