Diana Lange's patient investigations have, in this wonderful piece of detective work, solved the mysteries of six extraordinary maps of routes across Tibet, clearly hand-drawn in the late 1850s by a local artist, known as the British Library's Wise Collection. Diana Lange now reveals not only the previously unknown identity of the Scottish colonial official who commissioned the maps from a Tibetan Buddhist lama, but also the story of how the Wise Collection came to be in the British Library. The result is both a spectacular illustrated ethnographic atlas and a unique compendium of knowledge concerning the mid-19th century Tibetan world, as well as a remarkable account of an academic journey of discovery. It will entertain and inform anyone with an interest in this fascinating region. This large format book is lavishly illustrated in colour and includes four separate large foldout maps.
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.
Mapping the Pāśupata Landscape: Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India, Elizabeth A. Cecil explores the sacred geography of the earliest community of Śiva devotees called the Pāśupatas. This book brings the narrative cartography of the
Skandapurāṇa into conversation with physical landscapes, inscriptions, monuments, and icons in order to examine the ways in which Pāśupatas were emplaced in regional landscapes and to emphasize the use of material culture as media through which notions of belonging and identity were expressed. By exploring the ties between the formation of early Pāśupata communities and the locales in which they were embedded, this study reflects critically upon the ways in which community building was coincident with place-making in Early Medieval India.
The essays in
Powerful Arguments reconstruct the standards of validity underlying argumentative practices in a wide array of late imperial Chinese discourses, from the Song through the Qing dynasties. The fourteen case studies analyze concrete arguments defended or contested in areas ranging from historiography, philosophy, law, and religion to natural studies, literature, and the civil examination system. By examining uses of evidence, habits of inference, and the criteria by which some arguments were judged to be more persuasive than others, the contributions recreate distinct cultures of reasoning. Together, they lay the foundations for a history of argumentative practice in one of the richest scholarly traditions outside of Europe and add a chapter to the as yet elusive global history of rationality.
This book is the first comprehensive introduction to the Tangut language and culture. Five of the fiﬅeen chapters survey the history of the Tangut Empire and the evolution of Tangut Studies, including new advancements in the field, such as research on the recently decoded Tangut cursive writings found in Khara-Khoto documents. The other ten chapters provide an introduction to the Tangut language: its origins, script, characters, grammars, translations, textual and contextual readings. In this synthesis of historical narratives and linguistic analysis, the renowned Tangutologist Shi Jinbo offers a guided access to the mysterious civilisation of the ‘Great State White and High’ to both a specialized and a general audience.
The 1,165 entries of
Handbooks and Anthologies for Officials in Imperial China by Pierre-Étienne Will and collaborators provide a descriptive list of extant manuscript and printed works—mainly from the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties—created with the aim to instruct officials and other administrators of imperial China about the technical and ethical aspects of government, and to provide tools and guides to help with the relevant procedures. Both generalist and specialized texts are considered. Among the latter, such disciplines as the administration of justice, famine relief, and the military receive particular attention. Each entry includes the publishing history of the work considered (including modern editions), an analysis of contents, and a biographical sketch of the author.
Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts is an edited volume (Philip Clart, David Ownby, and Wang Chien-chuan) offering eight essays on the modern history of redemptive societies in China and Vietnam by an international cast of scholars. The focus of the volume is on the texts produced by the various groups, examining questions of textual production (spirit-writing), textual traditions (how to “modernize” traditional discourse), textual authority (the role of texts in making a master a master), and the distribution of texts (via China’s experience of “print capitalism”). Throughout, the goal is to explore in depth what some scholars have called the most vital aspect of Chinese religion during the Republican period.
This book explores the mutual constitutions of visuality and empire from the perspective of gender, probing how the lives of China’s ethnic minorities at the southwest frontiers were translated into images. Two sets of visual materials make up its core sources: the Miao album, a genre of ethnographic illustration depicting the daily lives of non-Han peoples in late imperial China, and the ethnographic photographs found in popular Republican-era periodicals. It highlights gender ideals within images and develops a set of “visual grammar” of depicting the non-Han. Casting new light on a spectrum of gendered themes, including femininity, masculinity, sexuality, love, body and clothing, the book examines how the power constructed through gender helped to define, order, popularise, celebrate and imagine possessions of empire.