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Princely patronage in the scholarly world of Sui and Early Tang China (581-713)Yinggang Sun
This dissertation aims to illuminate the interaction between factional politics and the scholarly world in China during the period from the late 6th century through the early 8th century, focusing on the patronage of imperial princes in the fields of Confucian canonical studies, compilation of literary encyclopedias, administrative geographies, and translation of Buddhist sutras. This study also brings attention to the historical context of the intellectual history. Princely patronage of scholarly activities contributed to the development of classical study and literary culture on the one hand; on the other hand, these academic projects sponsored by princes played an important role in the competition for the throne. During the period under the Sui and Early Tang (581-713) the history of China was marked by severe factional struggles over succession to the throne. Political patronage was responsible for the rise of specific patterns of classical scholarship. Study of the Han shu was, for example, mainly sponsored by Prince Yang Yong of the Sui Dynasty and Li Chengqian, Heir Apparent in the Zhenguan reign of the Tang Dynasty. Prince Li Tai acted as the main sponsor of geographic compilations, while Prince Li Xian led the study of the Hou Han shu . Although the ruling houses of the Sui and Tang dynasties emerged from a nomadic, military, and aristocratic tradition, authority in the scholarly world was a crucial element in deciding who would be the future emperor. In many cases an ill-considered cultural strategy led to political disaster. Prince Li Chengqian's devotion to Turkish culture and customs, originally intended to earn the support of Turkish aristocrats, left him open to attack from Chinese courtiers. The religious community also experienced princely interventions. It was a common practice in the Sui and Tang for a prince to donate his residence to Buddhism or Daoist, at which location a temple was subsequently established. In many cases the former owner maintained a special relationship with the temple and its monks or priests. A notable example is Li Xian, who while still an imperial prince donated his former residence to the dharma as the Jianfu Temple. After Li Xian ascended the throne as Emperor Zhongzong, Jianfu Temple acted as the center of Buddhist studies, and in particular the translation of sutras. Benefiting from his links with the religious community, Zhongzong made use of his authority in religious affairs in securing his rule.
Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Princely patronage; Scholarly world; Tang dynasty; Sui dynasty; Civil service examination; Medieval China; Religious intellectuals; Patronage; China; Asian literature; Religion; Philosophy; Medieval history; 0305:Asian literature; 0581:Medieval history; 0322:Religion; 0322:Philosophy
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