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Edited by Daniel Leese

Brill's Encyclopedia of China (see also is a convenient thousand-page reference on China from its early beginnings, with a clear focus on the modern period from the mid-nineteenth century to the 21st century. Arranged in alphabetical order, it covers the history, geography, society, economy, politics, science, and culture of China. All contributions are written by an international team of European, Asian, Australian and American experts, carefully selected from a wide spectrum of academic disciplines. Originally published and warmly received in German (edited by the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies in Hamburg, published by WBG, Darmstadt, 2003), this English translation, including a statistical data update, will serve both English-language students and faculty in conveniently providing a wealth of reliable and solid information on China. With illustrations, maps, tables, ample indices and bibliographies.

Online edition
Next to the printed edition there will be a separate online service with updates twice year, keeping users well-informed on new insights and developments relating to the vast subject. [For more information on the latter, please contact our sales department at or]

Edited by Livia Kohn

Thirty major scholars in the field wrote this new, authoritative guide to the main features and development of Daoism. The chapters are devoted to either specific periods, or topics such as Women in Daoism, Daoism in Korea and Daoist Ritual Music. Each chapter rigidly deals with a fixed set of aspects, such as history, texts, worldview and practices.
Clear markings in the chapters themselves and a detailed index make this volume the most accessible key resource on Daoism past and present.

New Terms for New Ideas

Western Knowledge and Lexical Change in Late Imperial China


Edited by Michael Lackner, Iwo Amelung and Joachim Kurtz

This volume is about the lasting impact of new (Western) notions on the 19th and early 20th century Chinese language; their invention, spread and standardization. Reaching beyond the mere cataloguing of the thousands of lexical innovations in this period of change, the essays explore the multiple ways in which initially alien notions were naturalized in Chinese scientific and political discourse.

Topics examined range from preconceptions about the capacity of the Chinese language to accommodate foreign ideas, the formation of specific nomenclatures and the roles of individual translators, to Chinese and European attempts at coming to terms with each other’s grammar.

By systematically analysing and assessing the lexical adaptation of Western notions in Chinese contexts, the book will serve as a valuable reference work for all those interested in the historical semantics of modern China.

The Hmong of China

Context, Agency, and the Imaginary


Nicholas Tapp

This first ethnography of the Hmong in China is based on Nicholas Tapp’s extensive fieldwork in a Hmong village in Sichuan. Basing his analysis on the concepts of context and agency, Tapp discusses the “paradoxical ambivalence at the heart of Hmong culture.” A paradox arises in the historical and ethnographic construction of the identity of the Hmong by conscious contrast with, and in opposition to, a majority Han Chinese identity at the same time that large parts of Hmong culture are shared with the Chinese and may be the results of historical processes of adoption, absorption, mimesis, or emulation. Tapp examines the Hmong rituals of shamanism, ancestral respect, and death and provides details on livelihood, kinship, local organization, and intellectual culture. The book is enhanced with thorough accounts of ceremonies, rituals, and folktales, with translations of Hmong songs and stories.

This publication has also been published in paperback (no longer available).

Dreaming the Southern Song Landscape

The Power of Illusion in Chinese Painting


Valérie Malenfer Ortiz

Establishing a new approach to reading Chinese landscape painting, this work centers around an early key example of scholarly painting, viz. Dream Journey on the Xiao and Xiang Rivers (late 12th century). The author restores the status of Dream Journey as a cultural icon for Confucians, an object of contemplation for aesthetes, an imaginary dream journey for poets, and an incentive to cultivate one’s moral intentions for both Buddhist monks and lay scholars. Also it is convincingly argued that scholarly painting originates in the Southern Song (1127-1279) and not, as is commonly thought, in the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368).


A Study and Translation of Chapters 15-23 with a Reconstruction of the “Hsiao Erh-ya” Dictionary


Yoav Ariel

The K'ung-ts'ung-tzu (The K'ung Family Masters Anthology) is a collection of writings, most of them discourses, that narrate the lives and scholarly activities of one lineage of Confucius' family, beginning with the Warring States period, and continuing with the establishment of the Ch'in dynasty and the succeeding Han dynasty. The book is divided into three parts. The first, introductory part deals with the Confucian character and literary mood of the K'ung-ts'ung-tzu. It embeds the philosophical position of the text within the Confucian tradition; it discusses the varied content of the text as a whole, and characterizes the gloomy mood that prevails in it. The second part consists of an annotated translation of chapters 15-23 of the text. The third part is a computational reconstruction of the K'ung-ts'ung-tzu's eleventh chapter, a concise dictionary entitled Hsiao Erh-ya.

Carpentry and Building in Late Imperial China

A Study of the Fifteenth-Century Carpenter's Manual Lu Ban jing.



This volume deals with the world of carpenters and joiners in late Imperial China, discussing both the technical and the religious and ritual aspects of building. It uses as its point of departure a unique and hitherto unused source: the fifteenth-century carpenter's manual Lu Ban jing.
The first part of the book examines building materials, the life of labourers and craftsmen, and the process of building a house. Subjects included are the choice of favourable measurements, the ritual of raising the ridge pole, and the complete, annotated translation of the Lu Ban jing, preceded by a bibliographic essay. The sections on furniture construction are especially important for the art historian. The book is finely illustrated with more than eighty original drawings and includes a facsimile of the extremely rare, richly illustrated earliest edition of the Lu Ban jing, dating from ca. 1600.


Edited by Vermeer

The history of China's Southeast coast has unusual features. For many centuries, overseas trade and migration, internal and external warfare, strong religious beliefs and receptiveness to foreign influences characterized this society of fiercely independent traders, fishermen and mountain farmers. The protracted struggle of Cheng Ch'eng- kung and the Southern Ming against the Ch'ing dynasty precipitated Fukien into a crisis, from which many chose to escape by emigration to the Philippines and Taiwan. Recovery was slow. ; The fourteen Western and Chinese contributors to this study focus on internal economic and social developments, overseas and religious change. From the rich Chinese and European source materials, a picture emerges of great regional diversity.
Local interests and values were confronted by the central government's orthodox rule, and Western influences of Jesuits and traders. The Fukienese reaction to them produces fascinating insights into Chinese society, and a truly local history which may qualify our ideas on the Chinese Empire. REA sinologists, social and economic historians.

Change and Continuity in Chinese Local History

The Development of Hui-Chou Prefecture 800 to 1800


Harriet Zurndorfer

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.