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Abstract

The Chu ghosts and spirits are divided into those “above” and those “below.” “Above” and “below” cannot be understood only as referring to heavenly spirits and earthly deities but should include also ancestral spirits. The Chu people’s sacrifices and prayers are also divided into those “internal” and “external.” This distinction is a spatial one that is not based on blood relations. The complete, well-organized system of heavenly spirits, earthly deities, and human ghosts had not fully formed in Warring States Chu culture.

In: Bamboo and Silk

Abstract

The present study offers a new reading of the Wangjiatai Gui cang’s pure yin hexagram text. I make a comprehensive analysis of the composition and layered texture of the text, by employing a methodology to engage with its images and narratives at an emic level. I determine that there is an iconographic resemblance between the hexagram picture and the graph writing its name, identify an image program centered on being “alone”, “inhumanity”, and “water”, and provide a context for the independent but interlocking narratives of Xia king Qi and Gong gong. Taken together, evidence points to Gua “Alone” as the candidate with the lowest odds among various proposals for the hexagram’s name. The overall meaning of “Alone” is that being bad, self-serving, and immoral will lead to one being divested of spiritual blessings and support of the people. The image of water in the two narratives is a metaphor for wantonness that also functions as a conduit for its disposal.

In: Bamboo and Silk
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In: Bamboo and Silk

Abstract

This article, starting with the modal particle wunai 毋乃, analyzes the tone of a dialogue between Confucius and Zigong in the *Lubang da han 魯邦大旱 manuscript. It points out that the attitude to a certain viewpoint is often contained in the tone of the speaker, and improper understanding of this information may lead to misreading a person’s point of view and their relationship with others.

In: Bamboo and Silk

Abstract

This paper presents a comprehensive discussion of the terms lu and dingsha 定殺 for the death penalty in the excavated legal document entitled *Falü dawen 法律答問 (Questions and Answers on Law) of the Shuihudi 睡虎地 slips. After a detailed philological and grammatical analysis, this paper argues that lu was a term for the death penalty by which mutilation was imposed on the offenders either before or after the executions. In this regard, the lu penalty was divided into shenglu 生戮 and silu 死戮. On the other hand, dingsha, also known as xingsha 刑殺 in received texts, belongs to a form of death penalty in which the offender was killed by drowning or being buried alive, and that these two procedures are identified in the manuscript as shengdingsha 生定殺 and shengmai 生埋 respectively.

In: Bamboo and Silk

Abstract

In 1996, a batch of slips (jian ) and tablets (du ) from the Three Kingdoms state of Sun Wu was excavated at Zoumalou, Changsha. It is the largest batch of slips and tablets ever discovered in China. As of 2016, the cleaning, protection and study of the Zoumalou materials has been going on for 20 years. Both the publication of the materials and research on their contents have yielded fruitful results. This paper does not seek to comprehensively review all of that work, but rather intends to outline the development of the field of Wu slip studies itself, and the topics that have been hotly debated have changed over time. When the Zoumalou slips were discovered, they had been damaged and mixed up, so the ideal situation would have been to start with reconstructing the documents, and then use relatively complete historical texts to explore relevant historical issues. Due to the long publication process, scholarship first centered on reconstructing the Household Registration and Accounting Documents in the Wu slips, and then on the Wu’s administrative documents as published in the successive official volumes of the slips and boards of official documents. These included a wealth of administrative information that needed to be sorted out. One of the main directions for future research on Wu slips will be using these official documents to study the administrative document system of Sun Wu’s commanderies and counties.

In: Bamboo and Silk

Abstract

The stories *Dan from the Fangmatan 放馬灘 Qin manuscripts, and Taiyuan you sizhe 泰原有死者 from the Peking University Qin manuscript collection, tell of the afterlife and the proper burial and sacrificial practices for the dead through the words of two men who died and returned to life. The proper burial and sacrificial practices proposed in the texts include the replacement of money and silk with symbolic objects, the abandonment of burying a body in the bent position and the breaking of burial goods, the restriction on joint burial of husband and wife, and advocating moderation and cleanliness in sacrificial rituals at the grave. The two texts reflect how the literate class endeavored to make the old burial and sacrificial customs in Qin culture closer to the collective customs of the six eastern states.

In: Bamboo and Silk
In: Beyond Citizenship: Literacy and Personhood in Everyday China, 1900-1945
In: Beyond Citizenship: Literacy and Personhood in Everyday China, 1900-1945