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Ancestor Worship and Human Sacrifice from the Shi Jing  

Anonymous

During both the Shang and Zhou dynasties (1556-1046 BCE; 1046-256 BCE) families, both noble and common, worshipped and sacrificed to their ancestors. These sacrifices were of the utmost ... More

An Arab Merchant Visits TAng China  

Ibn Wahab

Ibn Wahab was an Arab merchant from Basra (Iraq) who sailed to China via the Indian Ocean around 872 CE. His travel account includes a description of his interview with the Chinese emperor. ... More

A Boxer Rebel and a British Family Killed during the Boxer Rebellion  

Anonymous

A new wave of antiforeign sentiment in China, triggered by a “race for concessions” among the Western powers in the late 1890s, was increasingly centered on a group called the Society of ... More

China in the Sixteenth Century  

Matteo Ricci

When European Christian missionaries first came to Ming China, they made very little progress in converting the Chinese, in large part due to their limited training in Chinese language and ... More

The Disposition of Error  

Mou Tzu

When Buddhism reached China it encountered an already established civilization with deeply rooted literary and intellectual traditions. In addition, the scholarly elite of China was ... More

Emperor Qianlong’s Imperial Edict to King George III  

Emperor Qianlong

The reign of Qianlong (r. 1736–1795) marked both the high point and the beginning of the decline of the Qing dynasty. Several European nations, driven by their desire to corner the market ... More

“Good-Bye Asia”  

Fukuzawa Yukichi

One of the most interesting figures of Meiji Japan was Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835–1901). Trained in western languages, Fukuzawa served as interpreter on missions taken by Meiji leaders to study ... More

“Khubilai Khan at War”  

Marco Polo

Marco Polo (1254–1324) was a member of a clan of Venetian merchants, who had been active in trade in the Middle East for some decades. Polo claims to have accompanied his father and uncle ... More

Kokoro  

Natsume Soseki

Like nearly all the arts in late nineteenth-century Japan, the novel was also heavily influenced by Western examples. The culmination of this trend, in Meiji society generally, was Kokoro, ... More

A Korean Foundation Myth  

Anonymous

Many foundation myths around the world link a dynasty or nation’s founder to the divine or magical. The foundation myth of Korea is no exception. Korean mythology dates Tangun to the year ... More

Lin Zexu’s letter to Queen Victoria of Great Britain  

Lin Zexu

In March 1839, the Daoguang emperor sent Lin Zexu (1785–1850), a widely respected official with a reputation for courage and honesty, to Canton as an imperial commissioner, charged with the ... More

The Meiji Constitution of the Empire of Japan  

Meiji

The Tokugawa were forced to capitulate to the samurai of two southern domains by the end of 1867, and the new regime moved to the Tokugawa capital of Edo, renaming it Tokyo (Eastern ... More

“Memorandum to the Bakufu”  

Tokugawa Nariaki

Tokugawa Nariaki (1800–1860) was one of the leading Japanese political and military leaders of the nineteenth century. As possessor of the Mito territories, he was one of the most powerful ... More

Model of a Ming Ship in the Flotilla of Zheng He  

Anonymous

Between 1405 and 1433, a series of naval expeditions were sent out by Yongle, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, under the command of the remarkable Zheng He (1371–1435). The largest of ... More

On Effective Government  

Tang Taizong

Tang Taizong (d. 649), a founder of the Tang dynasty, was determined to create an empire that expanded upon the consolidation achieved under the Sui dynasty. The result was a large empire ... More

On Personal Piety  

Yi Kyu-bo

The author of this personal essay was Yi Kyu-bo (1168 – 1241), a poet, essayist, and critic in the Koryo kingdom of Korea. He was also a high-ranking civil servant, who passed the ... More

“On Ruling” and “Valedictory”  

Kangxi

Kangxi was the second Manchu emperor of China. Whereas his father had had to oversee the elimination of the last Ming claimants to the throne and their supporters, Kangxi had to devote his ... More

Proclamation of the Boxers United in Righteousness  

Boxers United in Righteousness

The nineteenth century saw an accumulation of disasters for China. In two Opium Wars in the 1840s and 1850s, British invasion forced the trade concessions demanded earlier. These conflicts ... More

A Record of Buddhist Countries  

Faxien

Faxien (circa 334-415 CE) was a Chinese monk who, with several companions, traveled the Silk Road to India and returned via the Indian Ocean trade route between 399 and 413 CE. Their ... More

“Secret Plan for Managing the Country”  

Honda Toshiaki

Drawing on the conclusions of his “Western” education, Japanese economist Honda Toshiaki (1749–1821) advocated a three-pronged plan of action to level the playing field between the Tokugawa ... More

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