Fujian Province

Fujian Images

These photographs are from the Sidney D. Gamble Collection from the Duke University Digital Collection. More Gamble photographs of Fujian can be found online here.




confucius tablets

Fujian Province/Kingdom of Min

Fujian 福建, a province on the southeastern coast of China opposite the island of Taiwan, is eighty percent mountains, ten percent water and ten percent farmland. The region of 47,500 square miles and a population of 35,580,000 is described as one of the most picturesque in Asia.

The history of Fujian is one of struggle and perseverance. Before the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) this land was called Min 闽 or Minyue 闽越 for the Min tribes and Yue tribes that inhabited the mountainous region, which was quite independent from the central government. In the 10th century, after the fall of the Tang, the territory of Fujian reemerged as the Kingdom of Min under Wang Shenzhi 王审知, but it was conquered by the Song in 978 AD. Port openings and the launching of the Maritime Silk Road allowed the area to flourish over the next 400 years. Fujian's decline began with the ban on maritime commerce in 1433 and was reinforced for the next 400 years by a policy of isolation.

Because of Fujian's mountainous nature and the numerous waves of migration from central China throughout its history, the province is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse regions of Han China. During wartime, refugees from the north would leave everything and move their entire families south. In order to suppress riots and uprisings that emerged periodically in the south, the imperial regime often stationed soldiers in Fujian, and they were seldom called back. The new masters of this land brought with them from the Central Plains advanced technologies and sophisticated Confucian doctrines, which, when fused with the indigenous marine culture of the Minyue tribes, assumed a very singular quality.

Last modified May 10, 2009 11:26:12 PM EDT