Huizhou studies the construction of local identity through kinship in the prefecture of Huizhou, the most prominent merchant stronghold of Ming China. Employing an array of untapped genealogies and other sources, Qitao Guo explores how developments in the sociocultural, religious, and gender realms from the fifteenth to sixteenth centuries intertwined to shape Huizhou identity as a land of “prominent lineages.” This gentrified self-image both sheltered and guided the development of mercantile lineages, which were further bolstered by the gender regime and the local religious order. As Guo demonstrates, the discrepancy between representation and practice helps explain Huizhou’s triumphs. The more active the economy became, the more those central to its commercialization embraced conservative sociocultural norms. Home lineages embraced neo-Confucian orthodoxy even as they provided the financial and logistical support to assure the success of Huizhou merchants. The end result was not “capitalism” but a gentrified mercantile lineage culture with Chinese—or Huizhou—characteristics.
“This book is both a comprehensive study of Huizhou society during the Ming dynasty and a valuable resource for the comparative study of Chinese migration. Ambitiously tackling a wide range of primary sources and different subfields, Qitao Guo has masterfully woven together seemingly disparate themes into this coherent and compelling study.” STEVEN B. MILES, author of Opportunity in Crisis: Cantonese Migrants and the State in Late Qing China
QITAO GUO is Professor of History at University of California, Irvine, and author of Exorcism and Money: The Symbolic World of the Five-Fury Spirits in Late Imperial China and Ritual Opera and Mercantile Lineage: The Confucian Transformation of Popular Culture in Late Imperial Huizhou.
Guo, Q. 2022. Huizhou: Local Identity and Mercantile Lineage Culture in Ming China. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.119
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