China can boast of a long and time-honoured urban tradition, comparable to its Western counterpart. In an effort better to provide insights on the latest developments in the field of urban history in China, this volume gathers together twelve essays by renowned scholars of Chinese history. Each author offers an original perspective on city life in China and on its specificities, based on sources seldom previously tapped into to shed light on the urban phenomenon. The topics addressed in the volume include urban sociability, the role of religion in the economic life of cities, the representation and the visualization of urban space, the early rise of a city-centred consumer society, urban government in its institutional and legal dimensions, and the link between city, history and memory. In order to bridge the traditional divide between pre-modern and modern China, the essays gathered here span a period of five centuries, from the Ming dynasty to the early years of the People’s Republic. This “longue durée” standpoint provides an opportunity to observe changes and evolutions in time and to anchor them in the specific context of China’s multifaceted and intermittently tumultuous path towards modern times.