【 Content Introduction 】
In the traditional cognition, the feudal autocracy of the Ming Dynasty was highly strengthened, and the common people basically had no political voice, and could only maintain the attitude of "absolute submission". By examining the theory and practice of Shengci, this book challenges this preconception: in the soil of the Ming Dynasty's authoritarian centralization, an alternative political model grew: local officials were appointed by the emperor and their values were determined by the common people, who thus achieved political participation. And the birth temple is a tool for the common people to obtain political voice.
Corresponding to "the son of Heaven is ordered by heaven", the author calls this model "small mandate of heaven", which is behind the complex interaction between political ecology, god belief and Confucianism. Civilians use the tradition of erecting monuments to "kidnap" local officials, and use "filial piety" to cover up the interests of the temple in exchange. Sheng shrines became a lever of interest, local officials "more patronage" in exchange for promotion of political capital, the common people set up Sheng shrines in exchange for officials to serve local interests and resist the harsh government of the court. The office-civilian interest groups linked by the student temple formed a balance between the central and local governments. Civilian recognition of local officials helped boost the court's reputation and spoke to the central government's principled stance against clique, corruption, and abuse of imperial power.
For the first time, this book places Shengci between the politics and beliefs of the Ming Dynasty, examines the Shengci system through a large number of stele records, local Chronicles and literati collections, and elucidates the political and ideological system of the Ming Dynasty.
About the author
By Sarah Schneewind
Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego, and former president of the American Ming History Society. He is an accomplished scholar in the field of political history and ideological history of the Ming Dynasty, focusing on the relationship between the state and society. He is the author of "Social Studies and the State in the Ming Dynasty", "The Legend of Two watermelons: Emperor and Minister in the Ming Dynasty", "Little Destiny: Sheng Temple and Ming Dynasty Politics", edited "Long Live My Emperor!" An Outline of East Asian History before 1200.
Translated by Shao Changcai
Master's degree in Ancient Chinese History, Department of History, Fudan University.