“Social Networks, Court Factions, Ghosts, and Killer Snakes: Reading Anyi Ward”

Tang Studies


This essay examines the significance of a single Chang’an ward — Anyi — as it is represented within anecdotes over the course of the Tang dynasty. It shows how this meaning of the ward is layered through time by its residents, whether they are officials, prominent families, monks, or even ghosts and monsters, and how the ward ultimately belongs to no single user of its space but is continuously appropriated and reappropriated in turn. At the heart of this anecdotal microhistory is a larger argument concerning how the Tang city was experienced, not only in terms of physical space, but also in terms of historical time.

Last updated on 03/09/2021