1st Edition

China’s Northern Wei Dynasty, 386-535
The Struggle for Legitimacy

ISBN 9780367347444
Published December 22, 2020 by Routledge
196 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

The Northern Wei was a dynasty which originated outside China and ruled northern China when the south of China was ruled by a series of dynasties which originated inside China.

Both during the time that the Northern Wei dynasty was in power and over many centuries subsequently, the legitimacy of the Northern Wei dynasty has been questioned. This book outlines the history of the Northern Wei dynasty, including its origins and the history of its southern rivals; considers the practices adopted by both the Northern Wei dynasty and its rivals to establish legitimacy; and examines the debates which preoccupied Chinese scholars subsequently.

The book casts light on traditional ideas about legitimate rule in China, ideas which have enduring relevance as tradition continues to be very significant in contemporary China.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. History of the Northern Wei and the Southern Dynasties

Chapter 2. Establishing Legitimacy: The Northern Wei’s Practices

Chapter 3. Preserving Legitimacy: The Southern Dynasties’ Practices

Chapter 4. Tang Scholars’ Views on the Northern Wei’s Legitimacy

Chapter 5. Song Scholars’ Views on the Northern Wei’s Legitimacy

Chapter 6. Ming and Qing Scholars’ Views on the Northern Wei’s Legitimacy

Chapter 7. Traditional Chinese Views of Legitimacy and its Evolution



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Puning Liu is an associate professor of the history department, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China.