Adopting The Orphan

Theater and urban culture in Ming China

Authored by: Yuming He

The Ming World

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138190986
eBook ISBN: 9780429318719
Adobe ISBN:


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Ming subjects felt the impact of theater in increasingly multifaceted ways. With the unprecedented development and expanded reach of the woodblock imprint market, plays came to be circulated not only through stage performance, but in a bewildering variety of guises, from full play scripts to excerpted arias, as source material for riddles and drinking games and other forms of stylish or witty banter, or through the illustrations of emblematic scenes that provided the era with a distinctive visual vernacular. 1 Hand in hand with these transformations of the media landscape there emerged a corresponding new reading culture that repurposed and reconfigured earlier traditions. Furthermore, the increasing sophistication of the discourses of theatrical connoisseurship, expressed in voluminous treatises and manuals on dramatic music and performance, helped to create a field of cultural production and consumption that swept up readers and theater-goers from widely disparate social strata.

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