By Ray Huang
Creates a portrait of the area and tradition of overdue imperial China via analyzing the lives of 7 well-liked officers and contributors of the Ming ruling category
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Additional info for 1587, a Year of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty in Decline
The practice of frugality started with palace expenditure. At Tutor Chang's suggestion, the lantern decorations and fireworks that had illumi- nated the imperial gardens and buildings after every new year over the past century were discontinued. The emperor had ordered the redecoration of two palace buildings as the new living quarters of his two mothers. The order was rescinded because of Chang Chii-cheng, who decided that the conditions of the two buildings were good enough as they were. At one time Wan-li complained that numerous palace women around him all loved self-adornment and he did not have enough jewels to give them.
One implication of such a practice was that, under those circumstances, the grand-secretary concerned would be compelled from happening to resign; for as long as possible. expected to hold office for life. and that should be prevented Normally, grand-secretaries were Good emperors should induce their grand- were to their liking. Although it was not impossible for an illiterate eunuch who had won the emperor's favor to break into this inner circle by becoming the Director of secretaries to draft rescripts that Ceremonies, such cases were few.
They were given territorial titles, palatial mansions, and annual stipends for life. But, settled in the provinces, they could never enter into politics; and without the emperor's explicit approval they could not even travel. The fundamental idea was to free the monarchy from interference by cadet branches of cousins, younger brothers, the imperial family. A similar preventive measure dictated that imperial consorts must be from those of social distinction. Wan-li's own maternal grandfather, Li Wei, had been a commoner of meager means.
1587, a Year of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty in Decline by Ray Huang