This book examines how the Ming state transformed the multi-ethnic society of Yunnan into a province. Yunnan had remained outside the ambit of central government when ruled by the Dali kingdom, 937-1253, and its foundation as a province by the Yuan regime in 1276 did not disrupt Dali kingdom style political, social and religious institutions. It was the Ming state in the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries through its institutions for military and civilian control which brought about profound changes and truly transformed local society into a province. In contrast to other studies which have portrayed Yunnan as a non-Han frontier region waiting to be colonised, this book, by focusing on changes in local society, casts off the idea of Yunnan as a border area far from civilisation.
Introduction 1 Salt, Grain and the Change of Deities in Early Ming Western Yunnan ZHAO Min 2 Local Communities, Village Temples and the Reconstruction of Ethnic Groups in Western Yunnan, 14th to 17th Centuries Jianxiong Ma 3 The Lancang Guardand the Construction of Ming Society in Northwest Yunnan HUANG Caiwen 4 The Mu Native Official’s Governance of the Tibetan World and His Sponsorship of Tibetan Buddhism YAMADA Noriyuki 5 Upland Leaders of the Internal Frontier and Ming Governance of Western Yunnan, 15th and 16th Centuries Christian Daniels
Historians are being increasingly attracted by the methodology of historical anthropology, an approach which combines observations in the field with documentary analysis, both of official documents and of documents collected from local society. In China, historians have been pursuing such local historical research for a generation, with very little of this work being available in English hitherto. This series makes available in English research undertaken by the Historical Anthropology of Chinese Society project based at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and related work. The books argue that top-heavy, dynasty-centred history is incomplete without an understanding of how local communities were involved in the government process and in the creation of their own historical narratives. The books argue that Chinese social history needs to be rewritten from the bottom up.