People of Nanjing (Paperback)
A Cultural Perspective on a Historic Chinese City
Nanjing has a prominent place in Chinese culture and history as having been a capital city for ten times throughout the history. The city of Nanjing is a fine history textbook. If one pores over this city, one will evoke the history of China itself. Every historic site in Nanjing is saturated with the character of human affairs. Whichever ruins one might visit, they are all part of a deep historical dialogue. In terms of scenery, Nanjing has mountains and rivers, enough to match any city. But the city's strength is in its history, and its unique culture. This book is a collection of prose about the unique history, culture and atmosphere of the city as well as the temperament and customs of its people, by the renowned Nanjing-born writer, YE Zhaoyan.
Nanjng in the eyes of Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), the Italian Jesuit priest and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China missions:
"THIS METROPLITAN CITY is called Nankin…In the judgement of the Chinese this city surpasses all other cities in the world in beauty and in grandeur… It is literally filled with palaces and temples and towers and bridges, and these are scarcely surpassed by similar structures in Europe… There is a gaiety of spirit among the people, who are well mannered and nicely spoken…in the whole kingdom of China and in all bordering countries, Nankin is rated as the first city.
This city was once the capital of the entire realm and the ancient abode of kings through many centuries, and though the kind changed his residence to Pekin, in the north, … Nankin lost none of it splendor or of its reputation…" - Ricci, Matteo, Nicolas Trigault, and Louis J. Gallagher. 1953. China in the Sixteenth Century: The Journals of Matthew Ricci, 1583-1610. New York: Random House. pp. 268-270.
"An elegant city with the European and American planning models adopted at the macro level, and the traditional Chinese style at the micro level – the most beautiful, clean and well-planned modern city in twentieth-century China." - YE Zhaoyan: remarks on the modern Nanjing city