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A Portrait of Five Dynasties ChinaFrom the Memoirs of Wang Renyu (880-956)$
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Glen Dudbridge

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670680

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670680.001.0001

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The Fall of Former Shu in 925

The Fall of Former Shu in 925

(p.124) 6 The Fall of Former Shu in 925
A Portrait of Five Dynasties China

Glen Dudbridge

Oxford University Press

Wang Renyu’s experience of the Former Shu court in Chengdu fell within the last years of the Younger Ruler’s reign. He observed the glittering extravagance of that reign, but also the abuses of power. He left pen portraits of men with character and integrity, but also of a broader, mobile society in which confidence men, racketeers, professional gamblers, sinister clerics, and paid assassins roamed at large, and people crossed borders to further their interests or escape the law. This chapter follows the fates of individuals in those classes. It also puts marriage relationships under scrutiny. Collectively they suggest an ironic shadow lying behind the public narrative of great events. They set up a pattern of dissonance to echo the doomed regime itself.

Keywords:   Shu, Chengdu, younger ruler, borders, marriages, irony

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