This book explores the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) military, its impact on local society, and its many legacies for Chinese society. It is based on extensive original research by scholars using the methodology of historical anthropology, an approach that has transformed the study of Chinese history by approaching the subject from the bottom up.

Its nine chapters, each based on a different region of China, examine the nature of Ming military institutions and their interaction with local social life over time. Several chapters consider the distinctive role of imperial institutions in frontier areas and how they interacted with and affected non-Han ethnic groups and ethnic identity. Others discuss the long-term legacy of Ming military institutions, especially across the dynastic divide from Ming to Qing (1644-1912) and the implications of this for understanding more fully the nature of the Qing rule.

chapter 1|25 pages

State institutions, local society, and historical continuity

Ming military institutions from the perspective of historical anthropology
ByMichael Szonyi, Zhao Shiyu

chapter 3|23 pages

Military colonies and localization in Yongchun, Fujian

ByMa Wenrui, Zheng Zhenman

chapter 5|17 pages

State and local society in the reform of the garrison system in the Qing Dynasty

A case study of Yuzhou Guard
ByDeng Qingping

chapter 6|16 pages

Where are the Western Aborigines?

Ningfan Guard and the transformation of local society in southwestern Sichuan in Ming and Qing
ByLong Sheng

chapter 7|13 pages

The Green Shoots Crop Protection Associations of Taozhou, Gansu

Ming identities/Qing histories
ByQue Yue

chapter 8|17 pages

The “civilianization” of military colonies and the reorganization of military households

Ningxi Battalion and the reconstruction of rural order in south China in the eighteenth century
ByXie Shi

chapter 9|21 pages

Military lineages and the Qing tribute grain system

The “Xie/Chen/Liao Barge” of Ganzhou Guard, Jiangxi
ByRao Weixin

chapter 10|17 pages

The tribute grain system, military colony lands, and transport soldier lineages in Ming and Qing

The case of Huangzhou and Qizhou garrisons of eastern Hubei
ByXu Bin