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Chinese Character Manipulation in Literature and Divination

The Zichu by Zhou Lianggong (1612–1672)

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Anne Kathrin Schmiedl

In Chinese Character Manipulation in Literature and Divination, Anne Schmiedl analyses the little-studied method of Chinese character manipulation as found in imperial sources. Focusing on one of the most famous and important works on this subject, the Zichu by Zhou Lianggong (1612–1672), Schmiedl traces and discusses the historical development and linguistic properties of this method. This book represents the first thorough study of the Zichu and the reader is invited to explore how, on the one hand, the educated elite leveraged character manipulation as a literary play form. On the other hand, as detailed exhaustively by Schmiedl, practitioners of divination also used and altered the visual, phonetic, and semantic structure of Chinese characters to gain insights into events and objects in the material world.

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Edited by Petra Maurer, Donatella Rossi and Rolf Scheuermann

Glimpses of Tibetan Divination: Past and Present is the first book of its kind, in that it contains articles by a group of eminent scholars who approach the subject matter by investigating it through various facets and salient historical figures.
Over the centuries, Tibetans developed many practices of prognostication and adapted many others from neighboring cultures and religions. In this way, Tibetan divination evolved into a vast field of ritual expertise that has been largely neglected in Tibetan Studies.
The Tibetan repertoire of divinatory techniques is rich and immensely varied. Accordingly, the specimen of practices discussed in this volume—many of which remain in use today—merely serve as examples that offer glimpses of divination in Tibet.

Contributors are Per Kværne, Brandon Dotson, Ai Nishida, Dan Martin, Petra Maurer, Charles Ramble, Donatella Rossi, Rolf Scheuermann, Alexander Smith, and Agata Bareja-Starzynska.

Holy Ground: Where Art and Text Meet

Studies in the Cultural History of India

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Hans T. Bakker

The 31 selected and revised articles in the volume Holy Ground: Where Art and Text Meet, written by Hans Bakker between 1986 and 2016, vary from theoretical subjects to historical essays on the classical culture of India. They combine two mainstreams: the Sanskrit textual tradition, including epigraphy, and the material culture as expressed in works of religious art and iconography. The study of text and art in close combination in the actual field where they meet provides a great potential for understanding. The history of holy places is therefore one of the leitmotivs that binds these studies together.
One article, "The Ramtek Inscriptions II", was co-authored by Harunaga Isaacson, two articles, on "Moksadharma 187 and 239–241" and "The Quest for the Pasupata Weapon," by Peter C. Bisschop.

Fusion of East and West

Children, Education and a New China, 1902-1915

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Limin Bai

In Fusion of East and West, Limin Bai presents a major work in the English language that focuses on Chinese textbooks and the education of children for a new China in a critical transitional period, 1902–1915. This study examines the life and work of Wang Hengtong (1868–1928), a Chinese Christian educator, and other Christian and secular writings through a historical and comparative lens and against the backdrop of the socio-political, ideological, and intellectual frameworks of the time. By doing so, it offers a fresh perspective on the significant connection between Christian education, Chinese Christian educators and the birth of a modern educational system. It unravels a cross-cultural process whereby missionary education and the Chinese education system were mutually re-shaped.

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Molly Vallor

Not Seeing Snow: Musō Soseki and Medieval Japanese Zen offers a detailed look at a crucial yet sorely neglected figure in medieval Japan. It clarifies Musō’s far-reaching significance as a Buddhist leader, waka poet, landscape designer, and political figure. In doing so, it sheds light on how elite Zen culture was formed through a complex interplay of politics, religious pedagogy and praxis, poetry, landscape design, and the concerns of institution building. The appendix contains the first complete English translation of Musō’s personal waka anthology, Shōgaku Kokushishū.

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John T. P. Lai

Literary Representations of Christianity in Late Qing and Republican China contributes to the “literary turn” in the study of Chinese Christianity by foregrounding the importance of literary texts, including the major genres of Chinese Christian literature (novels, drama and poetry) of the late Qing and Republican periods. These multifarious types of texts demonstrated the multiple representations and dynamic scenes of Christianity, where Christian imageries and symbolism were transformed by linguistic manipulation into new contextualized forms which nurtured distinctive new fruits of literature and modernized the literary landscape of Chinese literature. The study of the composition and poetics of Chinese Christian literary works helps us rediscover the concerns, priorities, textual strategies of the Christian writers, the cross-cultural challenges involved, and the reception of the Bible.

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David J. Gundry

The first monograph published in English on Ihara Saikaku’s fiction, David J. Gundry’s lucid, compelling study examines the tension reflected in key works by Edo-period Japan’s leading writer of ‘floating world’ literature between the official societal hierarchy dictated by the Tokugawa shogunate’s hereditary status-group system and the era’s de facto, fluid, wealth-based social hierarchy. The book’s nuanced, theoretically engaged explorations of Saikaku’s narratives’ uses of irony and parody demonstrate how these often function to undermine their own narrators' intermittent moralizing. Gundry also analyzes these texts’ depiction of the fleeting pleasures of love, sex, wealth and consumerism as Buddhistic object lessons in the illusory nature of phenomenal reality, the mastery of which leads to a sort of enlightenment.

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Edited by István Keul

The essays in the volume Consecration Rituals in South Asia address the ritual procedures that accompany the installation of temple images in Shaiva, Vaishnava, Buddhist and Jain contexts, in various traditions and historical periods. Through the performance of complex rites designated with the term pranapratishtha (establishment of, or infusion with, life), man-made sculptures are ritually transformed into (receptacles of) deities. The collection is thematically and methodically broad, with a large number of detailed textual studies, but also with ethnographic contributions that discuss contemporary instances of consecration rituals. Among the overarching themes are issues related to historical continuity and change, as well as transformational moments in such rituals.

Contributors are: Marie-Luce Barazer-Billoret, Marzenna Czerniak-Drożdżowicz, Ronald M. Davidson, Shingo Einoo, Marko Geslani, Dominic Goodall, Ellen Gough, István Keul, Elisabeth Raddock, S.A.S Sarma, Anna A. Ślączka, Annette Wilke.

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Edited by Vishwa Adluri and Joydeep Bagchee

Argument and Design features fifteen essays by leading scholars of the Sanskrit epics, the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa, discussing the Mahābhārata’s upākhyānas, subtales that branch off from the central storyline and provide vantage points for reflecting on it.
Contributors include: Vishwa Adluri, Joydeep Bagchee, Greg Bailey, Adam Bowles, Simon Brodbeck, Nicolas Dejenne, Sally J. Sutherland Goldman, Robert P. Goldman, Alf Hiltebeitel, Thennilapuram Mahadevan, Adheesh Sathaye, Bruce M. Sullivan, and Fernando Wulff Alonso.

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Zornica Kirkova

In Roaming into the Beyond Zornica Kirkova provides the first detailed study in a Western language of Daoism-inspired themes in early medieval Chinese poetry. She examines representations of Daoist xian immortality in a broad range of versified literature from the Han until the end of the Six Dynasties, focusing on the transformations of themes, concepts, and imagery within a wide literary and religious context. Adopting a more integrated approach, the author explores both the complex interaction between poetry and Daoist religion and the interrelations between various verse forms and poetic themes. This book not only enhances our understanding of the complexities of early medieval literature but also reevaluates the place of Daoist religious thought in the intellectual life of the period.