This book examines one of the most important problems concerning Chinese civilization - how was the pattern of stability and continuity of Chinese society and economy achieved and maintained from approximately 800 to 1800. It uses the results of detailed, specialized research about the Chinese landholding system, marketing patterns, the role of the extended family therein, taxation and non-elite social groups in one specific locale to answer questions that historians of any civilization ask about the structure and functioning of a given society. The author has investigated the development of the Hui-chou community over a 1,000 year period by concentrating on six grand questions, each answered by one chapter. The answers to these questions, as given in this work, show that 'stability' is a dynamic concept. 'Continuity' in Hui- chou is the result of the 'changes' in population growth, commercialization, and class differentiation acting in concert over the long term.