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Late Ming Ji'An: A New Sacred Landscape?

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Chapter Summary

Seventeenth-century Ji’an was, unsurprisingly, a very different place. Jiangxi and Huguang were the main grain-producing provinces of the empire, and Jiangxi and Huguang barges travelled constantly up and down the rivers delivering the goods to feed the ever more densely populated Jiangnan region. This chapter focuses on the traveller and geographer Xu Xiake on his 1636 journey through Ji’an. Xu’s journey between 1636 and 1640 was to Chicken Feet Mountain in Yunnan, which initially led him through Zhejiang and Jiangxi, before taking him through Huguang, Guangxi and Guizhou to Yunnan. Reading Xu’s descriptions of the Ji’an he visited, enables us to see Ji’an through his eyes, noting the features he found noteworthy, and lingering over the sites where he chose to linger. Through his travel record, we can see a landscape that is utterly different from the landscape of Song Jizhou.

Keywords: Jiangxi; Jizhou; late Ming Ji’an; sacred landscape



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