The period between the fall of the Han in 220 and the
reunification of the Chinese realm in the late sixth century
receives short shrift in most accounts of Chinese history. The
period is usually characterized as one of disorder and dislocation,
ethnic strife, and bloody court struggles. Its lone achievement,
according to many accounts, is the introduction of Buddhism. In the
eight essays of Culture and Power in the Reconstitution of the
Chinese Realm, 200-600, the authors seek to chart the actual
changes occurring in this period of disunion, and to show its
relationship to what preceded and followed it.
This exploration of a neglected period in Chinese history
addresses such diverse subjects as the era's economy, Daoism,
Buddhist art, civil service examinations, forays into literary
theory, and responses to its own history.
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