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The Merchant Network In 16th Century China A Discussion And Translation Of Zhang Han's "On Merchants"

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Chapter Summary

This chapter briefly discusses the merchant network in 16th century china. The pioneering work of Chinese and Japanese historians beginning with the 1950s debate on the &t;sprouts of capitalism&t; brought Ming commercial activity out of its former obscurity and has made it a basic fact in our knowledge of Chinese history. Among Chinese historians, Fu Yiling has furnished the most comprehensive sources on Ming commerce, most notably in his first book, Ming Qing Shidai Shangren ji Shangye Ziben (Merchants and commercial capital in the Ming-Qing period). One of the sources which he cites in that book, and which continues to receive mention in discussions of the Ming economy, is the essay entitled &t;Shanggu Ji&t; (On merchants) by Zhang Han (1511-1593). This essay has not been translated, nor have the full implications of Zhang's suggestions for altering state policy toward merchants been examined.

Keywords: 16th century china; capitalism; Chinese historians; Japanese historians; merchant network; Ming commerce; Zhang Han



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