Cover image for Imperial China, 900-1800 / F.W. Mote.
Imperial China, 900-1800 / F.W. Mote.
Mote, Frederick W., 1922-2005.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xix, 1107 pages : illustrations, maps ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS750.64 .M67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This is a history of China for the 900-year time span of the late imperial period. A senior scholar of this epoch, F. W. Mote highlights the personal characteristics of the rulers and dynasties and probes the cultural theme of Chinese adaptations to recurrent alien rule. No other work provides a similar synthesis: generational events, personalities, and the spirit of the age combine to yield a comprehensive history of the civilization, not isolated but shaped by its relation to outsiders. This vast panorama of the civilization of the largest society in human history reveals much about Chinese high and low culture, and the influential role of Confucian philosophical and social ideals. Throughout the Liao Empire, the world of the Song, the Mongol rule, and the early Qing through the Kangxi and Qianlong reigns, culture, ideas, and personalities are richly woven into the fabric of the political order and institutions. This is a monumental work that will stand among the classic accounts of the nature and vibrancy of Chinese civilization before the modern period.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Mote's book is the product of a lifetime of study and reflection by an eminent senior authority. Although it considers major social, economic, and intellectual topics, the focus is on political history. It is strong on geography and provides full and careful discussions of non-Chinese peoples and regimes, those which ruled only parts of China as well as the Mongols and Manchus, who established two of the major dynasties covered discussed here. Equally noteworthy is Mote's attention to modern as well as traditional Chinese analyses and judgments of people and events, and his deep engagement with Chinese culture. Inevitably, there is some unevenness. In areas outside of political history, his treatment is not always quite up-to-date. A serious effort to deal with Qing ecological history is notably absent. Substantial, extensive, and coherent accounts such as this are all the more valuable for being so rare. This one may lack the elegance to endear itself to readers, but it merits respect. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and above. C. Schirokauer; Columbia University