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The Chinese codes of written law are unrivaled instruments for precisely measuring, dynasty by dynasty, the shifting configurations of Chinese social and political values as officially defined. This is the first book to give a comprehensive picture of the basic concepts and the functioning of imperial law, as exemplified by a broad sampling of 190 cases translated from the largest of the Chinese casebooks—the Hsing-an hui-lan, or Conspectus of Penal Cases—covering the years 1736–1885. The authors include detailed historical, social, and juridical commentaries.