By William Wooldridge
All through Nanjing's historical past, writers have claimed that its striking panorama of mountains and rivers imbued the town with "royal qi," making it a spot of significant political value. City of Virtues examines the methods a sequence of visionaries, drawing on earlier glories of the town, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they developed structures, played rituals, and remodeled the literary background of town. greater than an city historical past of Nanjing from the past due 18th century until eventually 1911―encompassing the Opium struggle, the Taiping profession of 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 research exhibits how utopian visions of the cosmos formed Nanjing's direction in the course of the turbulent nineteenth century.
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Extra info for City of Virtues: Nanjing in an Age of Utopian Visions
The Qianlong emperor found ways to use Nanjing’s cityscape to enact his Inner Asian as well as his Chinese roles, and he managed the tensions among his different guises in part by articulating them in different parts of the city. City of Temples The Qianlong emperor’s assertions of authority in multiple realms created the potential for tensions among his various roles. In Nanjing, the cityscape itself provided a form of mediation. The emperor could be ritualist, warrior, administrator, scholar, and Buddhist in part because his actions had specific settings within the city, rendering his universalist claims visible and local.
The complexity of Nanjing’s poetic cityscape meant that others drew quite different lessons from the city’s sites. ”12 Both of these modes could take the form of a challenge to Qing authority. On the one hand, in the work of artists such as Hu Yukun (active ca. 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 Qianlong emperor was one of many—but one with unusually strong shaping force—who could construct such temporally chambered mansions. In the course of his six tours of southern China (in 1751, 1757, 1762, 1765, 1780, and 1784), he inserted himself into the cityscape, a display of power that would shape the ways in which city residents of the future would perceive imperial rule. Following the last of these tours, the emperor would continue to be on the one hand a model (because he demonstrated that one could arrange the many elements of the city to extraordinary political effect), and on the other hand a foil (because residents would come to see the personal, autocratic power on view as disruptive to social harmony).