Books on Chinese cultural history?
December 23, 2022 5:33 PM   Subscribe

What are some good books on the evolution of Chinese culture (both high culture and material culture), particularly during the T'ang Dynasty? When I look up "Chinese cultural history" I get histories of the Cultural Revolution, which is about 1300 years too late...
posted by musofire to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't read it but apparently Peaches of Samarkand is a good book on some aspects of Tang culture.
posted by Pantalaimon at 6:05 PM on December 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

You probably have to search specifically for Tang Dynasty stuff

China's Cosmopolitan Empire by Mark Edward Lewis

China's Golden Age by Charles Benn
posted by kschang at 6:16 PM on December 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

Slippery Noodles starts earlier and goes later, but the Flaming Tail Banquet chapter is specifically Tang.
posted by clew at 7:10 PM on December 23, 2022

I haven't read Charles Benn's China's Golden Age, but I can recommend Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History by James Benn (McMaster).

Another book you might find interesting is City of Marvel and Transformation: Chang'an and Narratives of Experience in Tang Dynasty China by Linda Feng (U of T).
posted by mustard seeds at 8:15 PM on December 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

BuYun Chen's Empire of Style: Silk and Fashion in Tang China (2019) seems pretty relevant and keyed to material culture in a way that would be impossible for many other subjects!

Unsure whether identity counts in your definition of "culture," but Marc Abramson's Ethnic Identity in Tang China (2008) and Shao-Yun Yang's The Way of the Barbarians (2019) both focus on how Chinese identity was created and demarcated from the "barbarian" other during the Tang period. It's worth noting, though, that the history of Chinese ethnocentrism is a somewhat controversial subject, so Abramson and Yang definitely both have critics (but I think both books were generally well-received).
posted by the tartare yolk at 10:53 PM on December 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

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