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.
The fifteen studies presented in
Confucian Academies in East Asia offer insight into the history and legacy of these unique institutions of knowledge and education. The contributions analyze origins, spread and development of Confucian academies across China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan from multiple perspectives. This edited volume is one of the first attempts to understand Confucian academies as a complex transnational, intellectual, and cultural phenomena that played an essential role in various areas of East Asian education, philosophy, religious practice, local economy, print industry, and even archery. The broad chronological range of essays allows it to demonstrate the role of Confucian academies as highly adaptable and active agents of cultural and intellectual change since the eighth century until today. An indispensable handbook for studies of Confucian culture and institutions since the eighth century until the present.
Contributors are: Chien Iching, Chung Soon-woo, Deng Hongbo, Martin Gehlmann, Vladimír Glomb, Lan Jun, Lee Byoung-Hoon, Eun-Jeung Lee, Thomas H.C. Lee, Margaret Dorothea Mehl, Steven B. Miles, Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, Nguyễn Tuấn-Cường, Linda Walton and Minamizawa Yoshihiko.
It is almost impossible for even a modern Chinese to imagine that the archery range was an integral part of Chinese academy compounds, and was promoted as a part of its Confucian education. It is true that in Confucius’s classical teaching, archery was a part of the so-called six arts that constituted the education of a gentleman, but it’s becoming a part of government schools’ educational curriculum appeared quite late, only in the Song times. Before that, archery was taught only in military camps, and at most as a part of civil rituals, taking place mainly for ceremonial purposes, such as “Village Libation Ceremonies.” Systematic and wholesale rethinking on the purpose and curriculum of education in the 11th to 13th centuries, during which both government and privately or family organized schools began to appear in large numbers, led to significant consequences. Debates on the relationship of schools and the imperial examination system that was also rising in importance, and the rise and intensified activity of the so-called private academies, resulted in a rethinking on how Confucian ideals could be implemented both within and without the public/government educational sphere, archery becoming part of this rethinking. The re-emergence of Confucian thinking resulted in the idea of “Confucian-military generals,” in that civil officials were expected to involve themselves in military policing and martial activities, and that military officials should receive sufficient Confucian education to enable them to help realize Confucian ideals of a stable and harmonious civil order. Several famous Song thinkers were singled out as quintessential “Confucian generals”—Fan Zhongyan most prominently. It grew into a tradition in that many thinkers in later times were also praised for their military aptitude. Actually, the conception was not new, but it became a widely embraced conception in the Song times, and it was at this time that “archery ranges” (shepu 射圃) first appeared notably in school compounds. The academies also gradually caught up. Although there is no evidence that Song academies already had archery ranges, the practice had definitely begun to appear in various government school compounds or government offices. Obviously, this reflected at least a preliminary or fledgling realization again of archery as education or rite. By the Mongol Yuan times, the building of archery ranges had become widespread, and references to academies with archery ranges began to appear in the early Ming. By the mid-Ming times, the academies were almost uniformly equipped with them. Many influential scholars wrote essays extolling their importance and even expounded on their educational values, advocating their construction. Archery ranges continued to be built in academies, especially after the academies had become largely an integral part of government schools and preparatory institutions of the imperial examinations. The rise of archery ranges in Chinese academy education was not intended to make academies realize the ideal of complete education for the upbringing of a gentleman (junzi 君子)—one who has a balanced life in both mind and body (originally conceived to be similar to an uomo universale)—but rather, was designed to help cement a society of uniformity, managed in an orderly way according to moral ideologies. Indeed, the archery range’s perpetuation depended ironically on its function as a site where members of government schools (of which many academies had evolved into) gathered for ritualistic performances and, perhaps even more often, to listen to imperial decrees and prescripts. The existence and continuation of the ranges thus reflected perfectly the Chinese penchant for “squares”—the peculiar Chinese equivalent of “public spaces.”
Confucian academies in post-liberation North Korea became subject of a complex political and intellectual debate motivated by the needs of the new regime to reevaluate the Korean past according to the ideological framework of Marxism-Leninism. Confucian academies were designated as institutions belonging to the past feudal order and as such their traditional functioning was severed and liquidated. On the other hand they were to a certain degree recognized as cultural relics belonging to the people of the DPRK and North Korean scholars devoted considerable effort to describe the role of Confucian academies within the traditional Korean society. The present study analyzes North Korean discursive strategies concerning Confucian academies during the 1950s and 1960s. It focuses on both popular and academic depictions of these educational, religious, and political institutions, including the most recent developments in the field.
Oksan Academy is one of the oldest Korean Confucian academies. Dedicated to famous scholar Yi Ŏnjŏk, the academy belonged to the upper echelons of Korean academies and during its long existence concentrated significant influence. Thanks to its uninterrupted existence and prestige the academy was able to preserve its book collection and now presents one of the best examples of traditional book culture of Korean Confucian academies. Thanks to the unusual number of documents available in the academy archive we may have a close insight into both the practical operation and the theoretical framework of the academy book collection. The present study focuses on the structure and form of the book collection of Oksan Academy, the nature of the collected publications, the management of the book collection, the print culture of Oksan Academy, the financing of academy printing, and book distribution. Oksan Academy is a prime example of how a Korean academy and its book collection adjusted to the changing environment and new challenges during their long existence.