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Heritage of ChinaContemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilization$
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Paul Ropp

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780520064409

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520064409.001.0001

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Chinese Art and Its Impact on the West

Chinese Art and Its Impact on the West

(p.263) Eleven Chinese Art and Its Impact on the West
Heritage of China

Paul S. Ropp

University of California Press

This chapter investigates modern Chinese social history in a comparative light. It suggests some hypotheses about what changed and what did not change in the past 500 years of Chinese history. It presents some thoughts about how this process of change is comparable to the Western experience and how it is unique. It mentions some preconditions and shows why the sixteenth century constitutes a useful point of departure for surveying the emergence of modern Chinese society. One key factor that promoted merchant self-government was the inadequacy or temporary withdrawal of an effective regular bureaucratic administration. The rise of capitalism and of the state may be useful in interpreting modern Chinese social history. In Europe, the rise of capitalism and the modern state were very nearly synchronic, whereas in China the expansion of the state lagged by perhaps as much as three centuries behind the appearance of capitalism.

Keywords:   Chinese social history, capitalism, state, Europe, China, bureaucratic administration

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