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In: Songs of the Royal Zhōu and the Royal Shào
In: Songs of the Royal Zhōu and the Royal Shào
In: Songs of the Royal Zhōu and the Royal Shào
Shī 詩 of the Ānhuī University Manuscripts
The songs of the Royal Zhōu (“Zhōu Nán” 周南) and of the Royal Shào (“Shào Nán” 召南) have formed a conceptual unit since at least the late Spring and Autumn period (771–453 BC). With this book Meyer and Schwartz provide a first complete reading of their earliest, Warring States (453–221 BC), iteration as witnessed by the Ānhuī University manuscripts. As a thought experiment, the authors seek to establish an emic reading of these songs, which they contextualise in the larger framework of studies of the Shī (Songs) and of meaning production during the Warring States period more broadly. The analysis casts light on how the Songs were used by different groups during the Warring States period.


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.

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In: Bamboo and Silk


Statistics drawn from the Shāng oracle bone inscriptions discovered in Pit H3 at Huāyuánzhuāng East challenge an assumption that all divination statements, or ‘charges’ mìng cí 命辭, be classified as zhēn cí 貞辭, and question an inflexible practice that systematically reads the prefatory word zhēn 貞 ‘test (the correctness of)’ into a divination account when it is absent. The restricted use of zhēn in this unified corpus of inscriptions implies that it had a particular and focused application in the process of decision-making. The Huāyuánzhuāng East inscriptions thus reveal a complex divination matrix that exemplifies the development of royal divination as an institution at Ānyáng more widely.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia