This innovative sourcebook builds a dynamic understanding of China's early medieval period (220--589) through an original selection and arrangement of literary, historical, religious, and critical texts. A tumultuous and formative era, these centuries saw the longest stretch of political fragmentation in China's imperial history, resulting in new ethnic configurations, the rise of powerful clans, and a pervasive divide between north and south.
Deploying thematic categories, the editors sketch the period in a novel way for students and, by featuring many texts translated into English for the first time, recast the era for specialists. Thematic topics include regional definitions and tensions, governing mechanisms and social reality, ideas of self and other, relations with the unseen world, everyday life, and cultural concepts. Within each section, the editors and translators introduce the selected texts and provide critical commentary on their historical significance, along with suggestions for further reading and research.