Physiognomy in Ming China: Fortune and the Body


In Physiognomy in Ming China: Fortune and the Body, Xing Wang investigates the intellectual and technical contexts in which the knowledge of physiognomy ( xiangshu) was produced and transformed in Ming China (1368-1644 C.E.). Known as a fortune-telling technique via examining the human body and material objects, Xing Wang shows how the construction of the physiognomic body in many Ming texts represent a unique, unprecedented ‘somatic cosmology’. Applying an anthropological reading to these texts and providing detailed analysis of this technique, the author proves that this physiognomic cosmology in Ming China emerged as a part of a new body discourse which differs from the modern scholarly discourse on the body.

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Xing Wang obtained his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2018. He is a Junior Research Fellow at Fudan University in Shanghai, and specializes in the study of Chinese divination and Chinese Buddhism
Readers interested in Chinese divination, Chinese Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism, Chinese medical history, history of the body, anthropological theories of the body, history of magic and witchcraft, and the intellectual history of late imperial China.