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How is it possible to write down the Japanese language exclusively in Chinese characters? And how are we then able to determine the language behind the veil of the Chinese script as Japanese? The history of writing in Japan presents us with a fascinating variety of writing styles ranging from phonography to morphography and all shades in between.
In Japanese Morphography: Deconstructing hentai kanbun, Gordian Schreiber shows that texts traditionally labelled as “hentai kanbun” or “variant Chinese” are, in fact, morphographically written Japanese texts instead and not just the result of an underdeveloped skill in Chinese. The study fosters our understanding of writing system typology beyond phonographic writing.
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As an intriguing but little understood language group within the Tibeto-Burman family, Qiangic languages are widely reported to have evidentiality, the grammatical means of expressing information source. How does this category function in this language group? Does it show any common features across these languages? And does it have any unique properties? Drawing on data from over a dozen languages and dialects, and cast within an informative typological framework, this study is the first attempt to answer these questions. It is found that evidentiality in Qiangic languages can be classified into three broad types. The study further demonstrates that modern systems cannot be inherited from Proto-Qiangic, and it also reveals certain features of the reported evidential that seem to be typologically rare.
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Abstract

This study looks at the grammatical category of evidentiality in Qiangic languages within the typological framework developed by Aikhenvald. An examination of nine Qiangic languages, with a total of sixteen dialects and varieties, shows that the evidential systems currently identified can be grouped into three categories: the Rgyalrongic type, which is characterized by a firsthand and a non-firsthand subsystem in the past tense, the Qiang type, with a visual, an inferential, and a reported evidential, and the southern Qiangic type, which consists of a direct, an inferential, and a reported and/or a quotative evidential. After comparing these systems, it is found that there is little or no conclusive evidence for them to be inherited from a proto-language, instead, they are more likely to have developed independently. The special properties of the direct evidentials and the unusual composition of the reported and quotative evidentials recurrent in several languages are also discussed.

In: A Typological Study of Evidentiality in Qiangic Languages
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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.
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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