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Reviews 271 provement on Xun Zi truly shows fhe range ofthis unjustly neglected scholar. While Tülman's short essay on Chen is not nearly as long as his other two monographs , it continues to buüd his impressive case for expanding our definition of what counts as good Confucian social phUosophy. It is a book that deserves to be in every library in order to supplement and revise our estimation of the Confucian achievement. John H. Berthrong Boston University School ofTheology Dr. Berthrong is the Associate DeanforAcademic andAdministrative Affairs; he specializes in comparativephilosophy, theology, and Confucian studies. N OTE 5 1. See Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, Utilitarian Confucianism: Ch'en Liang's Challenge to Chu Hsi (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), and idem, Confucian Discourse and Chu Hsi's Ascendancy (Honolulu: University ofHawai'i Press, 1992). 2. See Kai-wing Chow, The Rise ofConfucian Ritualism in Late Imperial China: Ethics, Chssks , and Lineage Discourse (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994). Shih-shan Henry Tsai. The Eunuchs in the MingDynasty. SUNY series in Chinese Local Studies. Albany: State University ofNew York Press, 1996. xii, 290 pp. Hardcover, isbn 0-7914-2687-4. Paperback $18.95, ISBN 0_ 7914-2688-2. The Eunuchs in the MingDynastyis a long-overdue and extremely valuable contribution to die study ofMing history. VirtuaUy any discussion or writing about the Ming dynasty wül sooner or later touch on fhe question ofeunuchs and their role in fhe political life ofChina. But until now there has notbeen a monographic study ofeunuchs in the Ming, or indeed in any odier period ofChinese history, in English. The importance ofeunuchs in Ming government was recognized by traditional Chinese scholars such as Wang Shizhen, who wrote an eleven-;'««« treatise on them late in the sixteenth century, or Gu Yanwu and Huang Zongxi, who each wrote about eunuchs as significant actors in the decline and faU ofthe© 1997 by University Ming in the seventeenth century. In recent years there has been something ofan ofHawai'i Pressexplosion in eunuch studies in the People's Republic, with scholars such as Wang Chunyu, Du Wanyan, and Wen Gongyi writing extensively about Ming eunuchs, 272 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997 while others such as Wang Yude, Tong Xigang, Duan Yuming, and Shi Shuo have written about eunuchs over the broader sweep of the Chinese past. When eunuchs in die Ming have been discussed in Western works, they have usually been presented as abusers offhe power that dieir intimate association with various emperors gave them. There have been some important works exploring the bases ofeunuch power and its development, most notably Robert Crawford's 1966 article "Eunuch Power in the Ming Dynasty," but for the most part eunuchs in Western histories ofMing China have been represented by either the "four evil eunuchs"—Wang Zhen, Wang Zhi, Liu Jin, and Wei Zhongxian—or by fhe positive image, explicitly exceptional, ofthe maritime explorer Zheng He. Shih-shan Henry Tsai, Professor ofHistory and Chairman ofAsian Studies at fhe University ofArkansas, has drawn on the full range ofsources about eunuchs in the Ming to produce this book, and in doing so has given us a clear and detailed portrait of the institutional system within which eunuchs lived and worked. In particular, Tsai uses Wang Shizhen's Zhongguan kao, the eunuch Liu Ruoyu's autobiographical Zuozhongzhi, and the various Mingshilu to trace out the trajectory of eunuch involvement in political, military, and economic affairs. The book is divided into nine chapters and a conclusion. The first chapter is an introduction that briefly sets out fhe contrast between the realms offhe regular scholar-officials who staffed the imperial government, and die eunuchs, who served first and foremost in the Inner Palace, then reviews past non-Chinese scholarship on eunuchs. The next six chapters each address a specific aspect of the organization and activities ofeunuchs. Chapter 2 deals with how eunuchs came to be employed in the palace in earlier periods ofChinese history, and how tiiey were recruited or otherwise acquired during die Ming. Chapter 3 discusses the organization of the eunuch directorates and includes a useful map showing the palace and its surroundings, indicating the location ofthe various eunuch agencies. Chapter...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 271-274
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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