Scenic Views of Administrative Units in Ming China


  • Xin Yu University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee



Ming Dynasty, local gazetteers, scenic views, prefects and magistrates, educational officials


Designating a set of eight or ten scenic views for a place was widespread in late imperial China. The subjects of this practice, however, had expanded from famous sites to almost all localities by the early twentieth century. This article examines the proliferation of one type of scenic view—those of prefectures, subprefectures, and counties—during the Ming. Focusing on a dataset of scenic views of 503 local administrative units generated through the Local Gazetteer Research Tools (LoGaRT), the article analyses images of scenic views in local gazetteers, traces the development of scenic views across the Ming empire, and probes the mechanism of their production. I argue that although non-official forces controlled and expanded the genre of scenic views in the Ming, local administrators manipulated this genre to their own advantage and made the celebration of administrative-unit scenic views their own space. Scenic views of administrative units were largely symbols of political authority.


擬定一地之景致(如八景、十景)是宋明以來之風尚。然而時至二十世紀初,景致之主體已漸次由名勝轉而各地之府州縣。本文即探討府州縣景致在明代之繁盛過程。筆者聚焦於用“地方志研究工具集”獲取的503 套明代府州縣景致,探討該類景致在各地的發展過程和生產機制,並著重分析地方志中的景致圖像。本文認為,儘管明代非官方力量支配並拓展了生產景致的空間,地方官仍然掌控了生產官方版本地方景致的權威。府州縣冠名的景致基本是政治權威的象徵。


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Yu: Scenic Views of Administrative Units in Ming China




How to Cite

Yu, X. (2022). Scenic Views of Administrative Units in Ming China. The Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies, 3, 11–35.



Visual Materials in Local Gazetteers