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An analytical analysis and summary of historical literary works—use of silver in the fiction and operas of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties

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image of Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

The royal courts of the Yuan and early Ming period pursued a paper currency policy and prohibited silver from being circulated by royal decree. But the uses of silver in daily life and commercial activities could be often seen in the fictions and operas of this era. This is an active reflection of social life of that time, and indicates that the binding force of the royal decrees over the subjects was rather limited. From this we can see that it may not be reliable to take the circulation of silver in fictions as a ground to prove that Outlaws of the Marsh was completed in the first years of Emperor Jiajing’s reign (Jiajing Huangdi 嘉靖 皇帝 CE 1522–1566). The difference between the royal laws and decrees and their effects on real life deserve more analyses by researchers.


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