View the h-asia Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in h-asia's June 1999 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in h-asia's June 1999 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the h-asia home page.
H-ASIA JUNE 30, 1999 ********************************* RESPONSE #1 From: "Thomas C. Bartlett" <T.Bartlett@latrobe.edu.au> Subject: Vietnam as "Zhongguo" Thanks to Bruce Lockhart and Tobie Meyer for their interesting and informative contributions about Vietnamese use of "Trung Quoc (Zhongguo)". It makes perfect sense that the Nguyen would not have dared to call his realm by that name when writing to the Qing emperor. Of course Vietnam was a vassal to the Qing, as it had been to the Ming, and to the Yuan. I'm glad to have the reference to Woodside's book and I look forward to learning more about this subject from it. Regarding the similarity to Japan: it goes back to the Tang dynasty, but maybe not explicitly in terms of the name "Zhongguo" at that stage. Wang Zhenping, of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, wrote an interesting PhD dissertation at Princeton, completed around 1990, in which he showed in detail how the Japanese used ambiguous language in correspondence with the Tang court. The text, read in Chinese, conformed to Tang standards for subordination of vassal states, but when read as Japanese the same words asserted the Japanese emperor's claims to equal status. But at some times, the Japanese were more outspoken about rejecting the classic Chinese claim to sole imperial pre-eminence, "Heaven has but one sun, and Earth can have but one supreme ruler." (What you might call the "celestial son, terrestial Son [of Heaven]" analogy.) If I remember correctly, the Ming History's biography of the first ambassador sent to Japan in that dynasty contains a blunt rebuff from the Japanese court, rejecting the Ming's demands for ceremonial subordination. The memory of the Yuan dynasty's two failed attempts to conquer Japan remained fresh. The document protests the insult to Japanese feelings arising from the fact that the Ming ambassador had the same surname (Zhang) and came from the same province (Shandong) as the Yuan ambassador who had demanded Japan's surrender. Thomas Bartlett La Trobe University Melbourne, Australia ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ RESPONSE #2 From: Robert Entenmann <email@example.com> I should have provided a citation for the Gia-long emperor referring to China as "Zhongguo" - Alexander B. Woodside, _Vietnam and the Chinese Model_ (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), p. 18. The source is the Nguyen veritable records, and the context is not given. I presume it was an internal document; the Vietnamese rulers were more circumspect when writing to the Qing emperors. Robert Entenmann St. Olaf College firstname.lastname@example.org