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Grammatical Sketches of Japanese Dialects and Ryukyuan Languages
Volume Editor:
Japanese is definitely one of the best-known languages in typological literature. For example, typologists often assume that Japanese is a nominative-accusative language. However, it is often overlooked that Japanese, or more precisely, Tokyo Japanese, is just one of various local varieties of the Japonic language family (Japanese and Ryukyuan). In fact, the Japonic languages exhibit a surprising typological diversity. For example, some varieties display a split-intransitive as opposed to nominative-accusative system. The present volume is thus a unique attempt to explore the typological diversity of Japonic by providing a collection of grammatical sketches of various local varieties, four from Japanese dialects and five from Ryukyuan. Each grammatical sketch follows the same descriptive format, addressing a wide range of typological topics.
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From prehistoric bone flutes to Confucian bell-sets, from ancient divination to his beloved qin, this book presents translations of thirteen seminal essays on musical subjects by Jao Tsung-i. In language as elegant and refined as the ancient texts he so admired, his journey takes readers through Buddhist incantation, the philosophy of musical instruments, acoustical numerology, lyric poetry, historical and sociological contexts, manuscript studies, dance choreography, repertoire formulation, and opera texts. His voice is authoritative and intimate, the expert crafting his arguments, both accessible and sophisticated, succinct and richly tapestried; and concealed within a deft modesty is a thinker privileging us with his most profound observation. The musician’s musician, the scholar’s scholar, bold yet cautious, flamboyant yet restrained, a man for all seasons, a harmoniousness of time and place.

Abstract

In 1980, Umberto Eco’s first novel Il nome della rosa was published in Italy and has quickly had global resonance, entering China by the late 1980s. Since then, six translations have been published in the Chinese language, including two issued by Taiwanese translators. It is interesting to observe how each version is able to refract the socio-cultural contexts of the translators, depending on the aspirations and cultural images created in the different periods and geographic areas. We need also consider that, especially in the case of Eco’s novels, the translators had to not only deal with the different needs and expectations of their readers but also imagine a ‘new model reader’, just as Eco did. Therefore, this paper aims at confronting the six different translated versions, by identifying the new model readers imagined by the translators, considering their own expectations, knowledge, and cultural context.

Open Access
In: Signs and Media
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This paper is a brave and largely successful effort to make sense of bamboo slips unearthed from ancient Chinese tombs and the astrological texts written on them, and especially their relationship to music. Jao Tsung-i then relates these primary texts to near-contemporary and other passages on the subject that survive only in later redactions and establishes clear linkage between the two. The picture that emerges is a complex web of interconnection between musical mode, notes, wind direction, climate, human health, harvest, and military action. Ancient China was clearly a world where the significance of phenomena and event was paramount.

Open Access
In: Harmoniousness: Essays in Chinese Musicology
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With its multiplicity of short-lived states, the political history of the period between the Tang and Song dynasties in the tenth century is both confusing and convoluted. This essay makes sense of this background in order to give a context to the pipa scores found in Dunhuang that constitute some of the most important early musical notations that survive. The principal sources that Jao Tsung-i deploys are the Dunhuang manuscripts themselves with which he was evidently intimately familiar. To add contemporary drama to his narrative, a strong subtext is acerbic dissection of opinions on the topic put forward by fellow scholar He Changlin 何昌林.

Open Access
In: Harmoniousness: Essays in Chinese Musicology
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The early genesis of musical compositions is often obscure, the more so the qin with its history of several thousand years. This paper takes important qin pieces whose titles and musical content express the flavour of Buddhist incantations and traces their origin from the very earliest days when Sanskrit texts first entered China to the subsequent dissemination of these documents and the role that the Song dynasty Chan Buddhist master Pu’an played in the process. The pivotal moment is the late Ming dynasty when the evolution of incantation into qin composition occurred, and mention of resultant incantatory elements present in the music is also made. An important undertone throughout is relish in the persistence of a pervasive underlying influence of Sanskrit-derived Buddhist text in Chinese culture.

Open Access
In: Harmoniousness: Essays in Chinese Musicology
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This essay explains in detail ancient calculations performed in relation to bell tunings and the views of different authorities on them. Scientific and mathematical in its layout, it illustrates common features and recognises anomalies. Starting with the inscriptions on the bells in the Marquis Yi of Zeng’s tomb and their particular Chu nomenclature, the discussion moves swiftly into more familiar citational territory. The key Han dynasty scholarly triumvirate of Liu An 劉安, Jing Fang 京房, and Liu Xin 劉歆 emerges, but Qin bamboo slips excavated at Fangmatan and Ming dynasty Zhu Zaiyu 朱載堉 lend verve and veracity to both ends of the chronology. Later portions of the essay list seminal texts, glossed with critical analysis of their location in the canon.

Open Access
In: Harmoniousness: Essays in Chinese Musicology
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Bronze drums are occasionally met in East Asian temples and museums, but their dark colour and imposing appearance can cause the casual scholar to pass them blithely by. Not so the intrepid Jao Tsung-i, who uses them instead to take the reader on a delightful journey through the historic, political, ethnic, and literary currents of south China and the Chinese diaspora of South-East Asia. Their ancient origins are explored, the complexity of their imagery explained, and the rationale behind their dispersal defined: a wealth of primary source material, both artifact and text, is assembled into a tightly knit narrative thread.

Open Access
In: Harmoniousness: Essays in Chinese Musicology
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Deciphering Dunhuang manuscripts is a recurring theme in Jao Tsung-i’s work, and this essay concentrates on dance notations and their relationship to music. To give a context, included here are also three introductions, the third of which is a moving account of the death of former student Kuang Qinghuan 鄺慶歡. Jao’s research methodology is to lay out all the relevant sections of text and then to proceed through detailed critical comparisons of lexical repetition and organisation to extract data. This he puts into a framework of citations from related material, and without falling into the trap of over-interpreting, comes to a finely-honed explanation of what these notations mean.

Open Access
In: Harmoniousness: Essays in Chinese Musicology
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Many important figures and their writings have come down to the modern era from the ancient Chinese world, but what of those who were clearly well-regarded in contemporary sources but whose writings do not survive? Juanzi was just such a thinker, and Jao Tsung-i pieces together the evidence that remains regarding his philosophy and relationship with the qin, the instrument he used to work out his ideas. The journey spans a rich tapestry of excavated artifact and bamboo slip and passes through numerological classification to later citation. At its heart is a search for a definition of that most elusive of concepts ‘harmoniousness’ that underpinned so much of early China’s intellectual landscape.

Open Access
In: Harmoniousness: Essays in Chinese Musicology