Books of Fate and Popular Culture in Early China

The Daybook Manuscripts of the Warring States, Qin, and Han


Volume Editors: and
Books of Fate and Popular Culture in Early China is a comprehensive introduction to the manuscripts known as daybooks, examples of which have been found in Warring States, Qin, and Han tombs (453 BCE–220 CE). Their main content concerns hemerology, or “knowledge of good and bad days.” Daybooks reveal the place of hemerology in daily life and are invaluable sources for the study of popular culture.
Eleven scholars have contributed chapters examining the daybooks from different perspectives, detailing their significance as manuscript-objects intended for everyday use and showing their connection to almanacs still popular in Chinese communities today as well as to hemerological literature in medieval Europe and ancient Babylon.
Contributors include: Marianne Bujard, László Sándor Chardonnens, Christopher Cullen, Donald Harper, Marc Kalinowski, Li Ling, Liu Lexian, Alasdair Livingstone, Richard Smith, Alain Thote, and Yan Changgui.

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Donald Harper, Ph.D. (1983), is the Centennial Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Chicago. His research and publications focus on newly discovered manuscripts and their significance for the history of religion, science, and technology in early China.

Marc Kalinowski, Ph.D. (1978), is Professor of Chinese Religion and Thought at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris. He has published widely on correlative cosmology and mantic arts in transmitted texts and the manuscript culture of early and medieval China.
List of Maps, Tables, Figures, and Plates
Tables 0.1–0.9
Map 0.1

Donald Harper and Marc Kalinowski
 Technical Occult and Scientific Literature
 Codicology of Daybook Manuscripts
 Daybook Studies and Ancient Chinese Hemerology
 Conventions Used in this Volume
 Chinese Terms and Translations
 Latin, Medieval Vernacular, and Cuneiform Sources
 Chinese Conceptual Terms and Hemerological Terminology
1 Daybooks in Archaeological Context
Alain Thote
 Daybooks in Tombs
 The Four Tombs
 Manuscripts in Tombs
2 Daybooks: A Type of Popular Hemerological Manual of the Warring States, Qin, and Han
Liu Lexian
 Content and Defining Features of Daybooks
 Overview of Fully Published Daybooks and Daybook-Related Manuscripts
 Unpublished or Partially Published Hemerological Material
 Comparison of Daybooks to Related Technical Literature in Excavated Manuscripts
 Daybooks from the Perspective of the Bibliographic Treatise of the Book of Han
 Daybooks and Later Hemerological Texts
3 Daybooks in the Context of Manuscript Culture and Popular Culture Studies
Donald Harper
 Hemerology and Hemerological Literature through the Lens of Late Han Historiography
 Makers and Users of Daybooks
 The Form and Function of Daybook Manuscripts
 Daybooks in Everyday Life
4 Hemerology and Prediction in the Daybooks: Ideas and Practices
Marc Kalinowski
 Daily Activities and Life Expectations in the Daybooks
 Techniques and Systems
 Supplement 4.1
 Supplement 4.2
 Supplement 4.3
 Supplement 4.4
 Supplement 4.5
5 Daybooks and the Spirit World
Yan Changgui
 The Spirit World
 Spirit Origin and Background: Explanation of the “Death Corpse-Ghost” Diagram
 Expelling Demons and Spirits: Techniques of Exorcism in “Spellbinding”
 Spirits in the Context of Hemerology
 Supplement 5.1
6 The Zidanku Silk Manuscripts
Li Ling
 Discovery of the Zidanku Silk Manuscripts and the History of Ownership
 The Zidanku Silk Manuscripts: Physical Description and Contents
 The Zidanku Silk Manuscripts and Ancient Chinese Hemerological Literature
7 Calendars and Calendar Making in Qin and Han Times
Christopher Cullen
 Looking at a Calendar
 Calculating the Calendar
 Who Calculated the Calendar?
8 Daybooks in Qin and Han Religion
Marianne Bujard
 The First Tiller Cult: Public and Private Rites
 Local Cults of the Qin and Han
 Private Rituals in the Daybooks
9 The Legacy of Daybooks in Late Imperial and Modern China
Richard Smith
 Brief Overview of Calendars and Almanacs from the Tang through the Ming Dynasty
 State-Sponsored Cosmology in the Qing
 The State Calendar and Its Derivatives
 Qing Dynasty Almanacs
 Concluding Remarks
10 Hemerology in Medieval Europe
László Sándor Chardonnens
 Hemerology and Daybooks
 Hemerology and the Study of Time
 Divination, Commemoration, and Natural Philosophy
 Hemerological Practices
11 Babylonian Hemerologies and Menologies 408
Alasdair Livingstone
 Research Background
 The Babylonian Cultic Calendar
 The Hemerologies
 Use of the Hemerologies
 Retrospect: A Scientific Experiment in Hemerology


Appendix A: Survey of Excavated Daybooks, Daybook-Related Manuscripts, and Other Hemerological Material
Appendix B: Summary of Published Daybooks and Daybook-Related Manuscripts
Appendix C: Description of Select Hemerologies and Classificatory Systems in Daybooks
All interested in the study of the excavated manuscripts and everyday life in early China, and anyone concerned with the comparative study of hemerology in premodern cultures.
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