THE LOCAL COMMUNITY IN EARLY MING SOCIAL LEGISLATION: MING TAIZU'S APPROACH TO TRANSFORMATION AND CONTROL IN THE “GREAT WARNING”
Author: Andrew, Anita M.
Source: Ming Studies, Number 20, Spring, 1985 , pp. 57-68(12)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:The village community figured prominently in the social legislation of the early Ming Dynasty. The founding emperor's humble origins linked his destiny to the commoners of the realm, when he regarded them as the vanguard of his grand design for the control and moral transformation of society. Ming Taizu (r. 1368–98) issued numerous imperial edicts, instructions, and laws to communicate to his subjects his own perspective of the ideal social order, one which justified autocratic rule and the state's conscious manipulation of social practice. An indication of the extent to which the early Ming state was prepared to go to implement Taizu's objectives is best seen in the “Great Warning” [DA GAO], a collection of imperial pronouncements issued between 1385 and 1387. Taizu's effort to legislate his social blueprint for Ming society was a watershed in Chinese government. The text of the “Great Warning” candidly illustrates Ming Taizu's desire to make the village community the focal point of his ideal social order. These pronouncements represent the best indication of imperial intent to remold society according to Taizu's dictates and reveal a unique approach to the implementation of Ming social legislation combining mass indoctrination, ritual observances, and coercion.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1985-01-01