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Xuande Emperor

The Xuande Emperor, personal name Zhu Zhanji, was the fifth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1425 to 1435. His era name "Xuande" means "Proclamation of Virtue". Zhu Zhanji was the eldest son of the Hongxi Empress Chengxiaozhao, he was described as a crown prince, endowed with the quality of an excellent monarch in a section of his biography surrounded by superstition. His grandfather, the Yongle Emperor, had high hopes that he might play an important part to assist his father, he was fond of literature. Although he continued to refer to Beijing as the secondary capital on all official documents, he maintained it as his residence and continued to rule there in the style of his grandfather, the Yongle Emperor, he permitted Zheng He to lead the last of his maritime expeditions. The Xuande Emperor's uncle, Zhu Gaoxu, had been a favorite of the Yongle Emperor for his military successes, but he disobeyed imperial instructions and in 1417 had been exiled to the small fief of Le'an in Shandong.

When Zhu Gaoxu revolted, the Xuande Emperor attacked him at Le'an. Zhu Gaoxu surrendered soon afterward, was reduced to the status of a commoner. Six hundred rebelling officials were executed, 2,200 were banished; the emperor did not wish to execute his uncle at the start, but events angered the emperor so much that Zhu Gaoxu was executed through fire torture. All his sons were executed as well, it is likely that Zhu Gaoxu's arrogance, well detailed in many historic texts, offended the emperor. A theory states. In 1428, the Xuande Emperor granted King Hashi of Chūzan the family name Shang, gave him the title of Liuqiu Wang, gifted him a red lacquered tablet with Chung Shan inscribed in gold, placed on the Chūzonmon gate near Shuri Castle; the Xuande Emperor wanted to withdraw his troops from Việt Nam. After Ming garrisons suffered heavy casualties, the emperor sent Liu Sheng with an army; these were badly defeated by the Vietnamese. The Ming forces withdrew and the Xuande Emperor recognized the independence of Việt Nam.

In the north, the Xuande Emperor was inspecting the border with 3,000 cavalry troops in 1428 and was able to retaliate against a raid by the Mongols of the Northern Yuan dynasty. The Ming government let Arughtai's Eastern Mongols battle with Toghon's Oirat tribes of the west; the Ming imperial court received horses annually from Arughtai, but he was defeated by the Oirats in 1431 and was killed in 1434 when Toghon took over eastern Mongolia. The Ming government maintained friendly relations with the Oirats. China's diplomatic relations with Japan improved in 1432. Relations with Korea were good with the exception of the Koreans resenting having to send virgins to the Xuande Emperor's imperial harem. A privy council of eunuchs strengthened centralized power by controlling the Jinyiwei, their influence continued to grow. In 1428, the notorious censor Liu Guan was sentenced to penal servitude and was replaced by the incorruptible Gu Zuo, who dismissed 43 members of the Beijing and Nanjing censorates for incompetence.

Some censors were demoted and banished, but none were executed. Replacements were put on probation as the censorate investigated the entire Ming administration including the military; the same year the emperor reformed the rules governing military conscription and the treatment of deserters. Yet the hereditary military continued to suffer from poor morale. Huge inequalities in tax burdens had caused many farmers in some areas to leave their farms in the past forty years. In 1430, the Xuande Emperor ordered tax reductions on all imperial lands and sent out "touring pacifiers" to coordinate provincial administration, exercising civilian control over the military, they attempted to eliminate the corruption of the revenue collectors. The emperor ordered retrials that allowed thousands of innocent people to be released; the Xuande Emperor died of illness in 1435 after ruling for ten years. He ruled over a remarkably peaceful period with no significant internal problems. Historians have considered his reign to be the height of the Ming dynasty's golden age.

The Xuande Emperor was known as an accomplished painter skilled at painting animals. Some of his art work is preserved in the National Palace Museum and Arthur M. Sackler Museum in Cambridge. Robert D. Mowry, the curator of Chinese art at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, described him as "the only Ming emperor who displayed genuine artistic talent and interest."Also, the Xuande mark and period is considered one of the most sophisticated periods in the history of Chinese Blue and White porcelain crafts. Parents: Zhu Gaochi, the Hongxi Emperor Empress Chengxiaozhao, of the Zhang clan Consorts and Issue: Empress Gongrangzhang, of the Hu clan, personal name Shanxiang Princess Shunde, first daughter Married Shi Jing in 1437 Princess Yongqing, second daughter Empress Xiaogongzhang, of the Sun clan Princess Changde, third daughter Married Xue Huan in 1440 Zhu Qizhen, first son Empress Dowager Xiaoyi, of the Wu clan (孝翼皇太后 吳氏.

Vaccine Revolt

The Vaccine Revolt or Vaccine Rebellion was a period of civil disorder which occurred in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the beginning of the 20th century the city of Rio de Janeiro capital of Brazil, although praised for its beautiful palaces and mansions, suffered from serious inadequacies in basic infrastructure; such problems included insufficient water and sewer systems, irregular garbage collection, overcrowded tenements. Many illnesses proliferated in this environment, including tuberculosis, measles and leprosy. Epidemics of yellow fever and bubonic plague occurred on an intermittent basis. Yellow fever was by far the most serious of the three, killing an estimated 60,000 Rio de Janeiro residents between 1850 and 1908. Although periods of respite from this particular disease did transpire as well, they were invariably marred by smaller outbreaks of the others. Beginning in 1902, president Rodrigues Alves launched an initiative to sanitize and beautify the city, he gave plenary powers to the city’s mayor, Pereira Passos, to Director General of Public Health Dr. Oswaldo Cruz, to execute sweeping improvements in public sanitation.

The mayor initiated an extensive urban reform program, popularly termed the Bota Abaixo, in reference to the demolition of older buildings and tenement houses, with subsequent conversion of the land to stately avenues and upscale homes and businesses. This resulted in the displacement of thousands of poor and working-class people to peripheral neighborhoods leading them to become resentful of the city government and suspicious of what it might demand of them in the near future. For his part, Dr. Cruz created the Brigadas Mata Mosquitos, groups of sanitary service workers who entered homes in order to exterminate the mosquitoes, transmitting yellow fever; the campaign distributed rat poison in order to halt the proliferation of the bubonic plague, required proper handling and collection of garbage. To eradicate smallpox, Dr. Cruz convinced the Congress to approve the Mandatory Vaccination Law on October 31, 1904, authorizing sanitary brigade workers, accompanied by police, to enter homes and apply the vaccine by force.

Rio de Janeiro's population was discontented by this time. Many residents had lost their tenement housing to the new developments, while others had had their homes invaded by health workers and police. Articles in the press criticized the action of the government and spoke of possible risks of the vaccine. Moreover, it was rumored that the vaccine would have to be applied to the “intimate parts” of the body, stirring further outrage among the conservative underclasses and helping to precipitate the rebellion that followed. Many intellectual contingents within Brazilian society opposed the law as well, including the Positivist Church, medical associations, much of the National Congress. Although most of these objections stemmed from the practice's perceived infringements upon individual rights, vaccination was still considered a valid subject of debate among the global scientific community at the time. On November 5, the opposition created the Liga Contra a Vacina Obrigatória. Formed by a coalition of radical republican politicians, ideological factions within the army, journalists, this group subsequently began to recruit trade unionists at large gatherings held at the Centro de Classes Operairias.

The violence began when a few young attendees leaving one of these meetings argued with a police officer, were promptly arrested. Witnesses to this incident furiously besieged the police station to which the men were taken, continued to fight with cavalry officers brought in to disperse the excited mob. From November 10 through 14, Rio de Janeiro descended into violence as each party to the conflict became entrenched in its position. Rioters looted shops and burned trams, made barricades, pulled out tracks, broke poles and streetlights, attacked federal troops with rocks, debris and stolen guns. Factory laborers revolted in their own workplaces on the outskirts of town, while impoverished and evicted townspeople attempted to secure control over the heart of the city; the momentum of opposition forces reached its zenith on November 14, when cadets of the Escola Militar da Praia Vermelha mutinied against President Alves for his rejection of the terms presented to him in a thinly-disguised ultimatum by General Olimpio da Silveira.

Silveira's march on the presidential palace was thwarted, when his would-be allies at the academy of Realengo were arrested before they could mobilize. In response, the government declared a state of siege, its forces drove the rebels from their strongholds beginning on November 15, concluding on November 18 after a grueling period of close-quarter fighting in the predominantly Afro-Brazilian district of Saude. The rebellion was contained, leaving 110 wounded. Despite its swift downfall, the revolt convinced the mayor and his cabinet to abandon the forced-vaccination program for the time being; this concession was demonstrated to have been quite superficial, however, as the policy was re-instated several years later. Whatever popular frustrations or progressive ideals that the anti-vaccination movement and its allies might have expressed were swept aside with the re-imposition of lawful authority, as the processes of unequal economic development and gentrification continued to accelerate following t

Pierre-Joseph Redouté

Pierre-Joseph Redouté, was a painter and botanist from Belgium, known for his watercolours of roses and other flowers at Malmaison, many of which were published as large, color stipple engravings. He was nicknamed "the Raphael of flowers" and has been called the greatest botanical illustrator of all time. Redouté was an official court artist of Marie Antoinette, continued painting through the French Revolution and Reign of Terror, he survived the turbulent political upheaval to gain international recognition for his precise renderings of plants, which remain as fresh in the early 21st century as when first painted. He combined great artistic skills with a pleasing, ingratiating personality which assisted him with his influential patrons. After Queen Marie-Antoinette, his patrons included both of Napoleon's wives -- Empress Joséphine and Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma -- as well as Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily wife of Louis Philippe I, the last king of France. Redouté collaborated with the greatest botanists of his day and participated in nearly fifty publications depicting both the familiar flowers of the French court and plants from places as distant as Japan, South Africa, Australia.

He worked from live plants rather than herbarium specimens, which contributed to his fresh, subtle renderings. He was painting during a period in botanical illustration, noted for the publication of outstanding folio editions with coloured plates. Redouté produced over 2,100 published plates depicting over 1,800 different species, many never rendered before. Of the French botanical illustrators employed in the French capital, Redouté is the one which remains in the public consciousness today, he is seen as an important heir to the tradition of the Flemish and Dutch flower painters Brueghel, van Huysum and de Heem. Redouté was born July 10, 1759, in the Belgian Province of Luxembourg. Both his father and grandfather were painters, his elder brother, Antoine Ferdinand, was an interior decorator and scenery designer, he would never gain much in the way of formal education, instead leaving home at the age of 13 to earn his living as an itinerant painter, doing interior decoration and religious commissions.

In 1782, he made his way to Paris to join his brother in painting scenery for theaters. In Paris, Redouté met the botanists Charles Louis L'Héritier de Brutelle and René Desfontaines, who steered him towards botanical illustration, a growing discipline. L'Héritier became his instructor, teaching him to dissect flowers and portray their specific characteristics with precision. L'Heritier introduced Redouté to members of the court at Versailles, following which Marie Antoinette became his patron. Redouté received the title of Draughtsman and Painter to the Queen's Cabinet. Cheveau, a Parisian dealer, brought the young artist to the attention of the botanical artist Gerard van Spaendonck at the Jardin du Roi, which would become the Jardin des Plantes of the National Museum of Natural History in 1793, after the Revolution. Van Spaendonck became another of Redouté's teachers influencing his handling of watercolor. In 1786, Redouté began to work at the National Museum of Natural History cataloguing the collections of flora and fauna and participating in botanical expeditions.

In 1787, he left France to study plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew near London, returning the following year. In 1792 he was employed by the French Academy of Sciences. In 1798, Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, became his patron and, some years he became her official artist. In 1809, Redouté taught painting to Princess Adélaïde of Orléans. After Empress Joséphine's death, Redouté had some difficult years until he was appointed a master of draughtsmanship for the National Museum of Natural History in 1822. In 1824, he gave some drawing classes at the museum. Many of his pupils were aristocrats or royalty, he became a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1825. Although renowned for his botanical exploration of roses and lilies, he thereafter produced paintings purely for aesthetic value. Redoute taught and painted up to the day he died of a stroke on June 19 or 20, 1840, he was survived by his wife, Marie-Marte Gobert, whom he married in 1786, their two daughters.

He was interred in Père Lachaise Cemetery. A Brussels school bears his name: the Institut Redouté-Peiffer in Anderlecht. Most of the Les Liliacées watercolours went from the Empress Joséphine to her son from her first marriage Eugène de Beauharnais. Most of the watercolours of her Jardin de la Malmaison were acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Redouté's paintings for Les Roses were bought by Charles X of France for his widowed daughter-in-law, Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duchess of Berry, their whereabouts are untraceable: in 1948 some were sold by Sotheby's in London and a few were acquired by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. In 1985, 468 leaves were bought at a New York auction by an art dealer for 5.5 million and dispersed. In the 20th and 21st century, numerous exhibitions in Europe, the Americas and Australia have been devoted to the work of Redouté; the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Library of Congress and other libraries have made many of his works accessible online and reproductions of his prints are available from all print and poster shops.

Geraniologia, ed. Petri-Francisci Didot Traité des arbres et arbustes que l'on cultive en France, par Duhamel. Nouvelle édition, avec des figures, d'après les dessins de 7 vols. Les Lili