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Reviews 547© 1997 by University ofHawai'i Press Hoyt Cleveland Tillman and Stephen H. West, editors. China under Jurchen Rule: Essays on Chin Intellectual and Cultural History. Foreword by Herbert Franke. SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture. Albany: State University ofNew York Press, 1995. xxi, 385 pp. Hardcover $59.50, isbn 0-7914-2273-9. Paperback $17.95, ISBN 0-7914-2274-7. As "a pioneering work" that encourages further research on the Chin period (1115-1234) (p. 19), this volume is certainly a welcome contribution to the ongoing study of China's conquest dynasties. The Foreword by Herbert Franke and the Introduction by the two editors highlight its "outstanding achievement" (p. xxi), not only in examining a period between the Sung and the Yuan, but also in placing "the culture of the Chin era in Chinese cultural history" (p. 19). A corrective to the old notion that the cultural life of the Chin was "barbarous," a "void," or an "unproductive transitional phase" (pp. xx-xxi), this is even more ofan achievement considering the scarcity of Chin sources, a fact that owes mainly to the destruction and general disruption of civil culture as a result ofwarfare between the forces ofthe Chin and the Sung and die Mongols, and the disempowerment of the Chin literati. Throughout the volume, Chin culture is discussed in terms of two kinds of cultural relations. The first kind, between the Jurchens and their Chinese contemporaries , is examined in terms of the sinicization ofthe Jurchens along with "elements ofJurchen tribal organization and lifestyle," which, throughout the century ofJurchen dominance in North China, helped the Chin to maintain "a mixed system ofrelatively pluralistic and polyethnic character" (p. 24). Second, a discussion ofJurchen-Khitan and Jurchen-Mongol relations and a briefcomparison of the Chin with the Manchu Ch'ing address the issue ofmutual influence ofpreceding and subsequent dynasties. Efforts are made to integrate the Chin into the Chinese society and culture with which it coexisted, to evaluate the conquest dynasty in the context ofmainstream Chinese history, to recognize the legitimacy of a nonHan dynasty, and to make use of scanty primary source materials to construct a cultural history of a people for whom (as with many other non-Han peoples) a written historical record in their own language is incomplete. All ofthese discussions , although specific to Chin culture, offer valuable general theories and methodological approaches to the study ofall of China's conquest dynasties. Well-organized, the volume's three essays in part 1 survey the cultural and institutional history ofthe Chin in the context of Chinese history overall; three essays in part 2 examine the Chin religion and Confucian thought, and four essays in part 3 discuss literature and art in relation to sociopolitical and cultural developments. 548 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997 In chapter 1, Hoyt Tillman traces the evolution of the Chin away from Jurchen tribal practices and toward Chinese imperial institutions. Claiming that "Jurchen interaction with Chinese institutions is indicative of their attitudes and policies toward Chinese culture, and institutional changes are often more concrete and better documented than cultural interaction" (p. 23), Tillman uses the institutions of the Jurchens to study their cultural history. Moving away from the T'ang political culture, which the Liao had inherited, the Chin made a shift "in cultural judgement to adopt Sung models" (p. 38), and there were further significant institutional differences arising largely from the Chin tribal heritage. As for the Mongols, Tillman found, the Chin dealt with them "in much the same way that Chinese regimes had brought steppe tribes into the Chinese political order as vassals" (p. 24). In chapter 2, James Liu introduces a new explanation for the rise of neoConfucianism in the Southern Sung in context of the alien invasion. He declares that "invaders from the northern borderlands had never set their eyes on the Yangtze until the Jurchen," who became, in the early twelfth century, "the first steppe or pastoral-nomadic nationality in Chinese history to cross the Yangtze" (p. 39). The Jurchen confrontation with the Southern Sung "had long-range effects on the Southern Sung government." The most important was the rise of "neo" Confucianism. The...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 547-552
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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