By William Wooldridge
All through Nanjing's heritage, writers have claimed that its outstanding panorama of mountains and rivers imbued 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 town, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they developed structures, played rituals, and transformed the literary historical past of the town. greater than an city heritage of Nanjing from the past due 18th century till 1911―encompassing the Opium struggle, the Taiping profession of town, the rebuilding of the town through 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 resources for City of Virtues: Nanjing in an Age of Utopian Visions
By depicting Nanjing as a Buddhist center, the Qianlong emperor was better able to enact his own role as a universal monarch. The very notion of a “universal monarch” drew from the Buddhist model of the cakravartin (“wheel turning king”), whose chariot carried him throughout the world as he furthered the “greater vehicle” of Mahayana Buddhism. 31 Nanjing’s cityscape offered additional means of enacting the emperor’s many roles within China proper. To demonstrate the combination of Buddhist devotion and charismatic rule of the cakravartin, the emperor turned to Linggu Monastery, whose recent (Qing) history was relatively sedate, but whose deeper past was permeated with symbols of holiness and imperial power.
8 By manipulating Nanjing’s physical and poetic space, the emperor could attempt to secure this order even after he departed the city. ˆˆˆ In this project, the Qianlong emperor drew on elaborate precedents. His grandfather, the Kangxi emperor, had himself conducted six tours through the city between 1684 and 1707. 9 The Kangxi emperor had composed an essay about what rulers could learn from Nanjing’s natural features, cultural flourishing, and political upheaval. His essay followed the style of laments for past dynasties and described the Ming’s loss of the Mandate of Heaven, thus asserting the Kangxi emperor’s learning and legitimacy.
And writing verse stood alongside other demonstrations of his capacity to order. The scale of Qianlong’s endeavors is difficult to fathom. 17 His supervision of the expansion of the palace collections of art and antiquities was equally colossal, and the emperor acted as chief curator and connoisseur. He was a patron as well: The Qianlong Emperor’s Toursâ•… [â†œ3 3â†œ]â†œ painters, enamellers, weavers, carvers, carpenters, and other artisans thrived under his sponsorship. He adorned paintings in the collection with seals and colophons as thoroughly as he adorned buildings around Nanjing.
City of Virtues: Nanjing in an Age of Utopian Visions by William Wooldridge