Beyond the Bronze Pillars: Envoy Poetry and the Sino-Vietnamese Relationship
- About the Book
Beyond the Bronze Pillars is an innovative and iconoclastic look at the politico-cultural relationship between Vietnam and China in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Overturning the established view that historically the Vietnamese sought to maintain a separate cultural identity and engaged in tributary relations with the Middle Kingdom solely to avoid invasion, Liam Kelley shows how Vietnamese literati sought to unify their cultural practices with those in China while fully recognizing their country’s political subservience. He does so by examining a body of writings known as Vietnamese “envoy poetry.”
Far from advocating their own cultural distinctiveness, Vietnamese envoy poets expressed a profound identification with what we would now call the Sinitic world and their political status as vassals in it. In mining a body of rich primary sources that no Western historian has previously employed, Kelley provides startling insights into the pre-modern Vietnamese view of their world and its politico-cultural relationship with China.
- About the Author(s)
Liam C. Kelley, Author