With the support of a Rothman Faculty Summer Fellowship (2010), Dr. Richard Wang spent May through August in China. There he pursued his research into princely patronage of Daoism during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). His trip to China allowed him to find a number of rare books written in the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries by Chinese princes of the Ming dynasty, as well as pre-modern gazetteers and the manuscript of a princely genealogy. He was also able to visit a mausoleum of a Ming prince in Chengdu, Sichuan province, where he studied the funeral objects and tomb design in order to get a more complete picture of the lives and deaths of these members of the Chinese elite. His work is part of a greater project in which he will show that Ming princes, legally restricted from traditional political careers, maintained their influence and expressed their power through Daoism by financing and organizing temple affairs and rituals, patronizing Daoist priests, and collecting and producing Daoist books. Moreover, Dr. Wang’s research will demonstrate that Daoism provided Ming princes, who otherwise lived in secluded leisure, with the opportunity for self-cultivation and autonomy. As a consequence, Daoist institutions of the period also benefited significantly from the wealth of their aristocratic patrons, who were able to sponsor the building of temples, the writing of poetry and other literary works, and the performance of court rituals. Dr. Wang’s research on this topic will soon be published by Oxford University Press.
In Spring 2011,Dr. Wang received the James P. Geiss Foundation Publication Subvention Award for his monograph. The book was published in 2011, titled Ming Erotic Novellas: Genre, Consumption, and Religiosity in Cultural Practice (Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2011).
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