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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.

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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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.

A Late Sixteenth-Century Chinese Buddhist Fellowship

Spiritual Ambitions, Intellectual Debates, and Epistolary Connections

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Jennifer Eichman

Through a detailed analysis of epistolary writing, A Late Sixteenth-Century Chinese Buddhist Fellowship: Spiritual Ambitions, Intellectual Debates, and Epistolary Connections brings to life the Buddhist discourse of a network of lay disciples who debated the value of Chan versus Pure Land, sudden versus gradual enlightenment, adherence to Buddhist precepts, and animal welfare. By highlighting the differences between their mentor, the monk Zhuhong 袾宏 (1535-1615), and his nemesis, the Yangming Confucian Zhou Rudeng 周汝登 (1547-1629), this work confronts long-held scholarly views of Confucian dominance to conclude that many classically educated, elite men found Buddhist practices a far more attractive option. Their intellectual debates, self-cultivation practices, and interpersonal relations helped shape the contours of late sixteenth-century Buddhist culture.

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Timothy M. Davis

In Entombed Epigraphy and Commemorative Culture Timothy M. Davis presents a history of early muzhiming—the most versatile and persistent commemorative form employed in the elite burials of pre-modern China. While previous scholars have largely overlooked the contemporary religious, social, and cultural functions of these epigraphic objects, this study directly addresses these areas of concern, answering such basic questions as: Why were muzhiming buried in tombs? What distinguishes commemorative biography from dynastic history biography? And why did muzhiming develop into an essential commemorative genre esteemed by the upper classes? Furthermore, this study reveals how aspiring families used muzhiming to satisfy their obligations to deceased ancestors, establish a multi-generational sense of corporate identity, and strengthen their claims to elite status.