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Edited by Livia Kohn

Thirty major scholars in the field wrote this new, authoritative guide to the main features and development of Daoism. The chapters are devoted to either specific periods, or topics such as Women in Daoism, Daoism in Korea and Daoist Ritual Music. Each chapter rigidly deals with a fixed set of aspects, such as history, texts, worldview and practices.
Clear markings in the chapters themselves and a detailed index make this volume the most accessible key resource on Daoism past and present.


Edited by Harriet Zurndorfer

The present volume is the result of a Leiden University workshop on women in imperial China by a group of international scholars. In recent years Chinese women and gender studies have attracted more and more attention, and this book is one of the first efforts to focus on major aspects of this subject. It covers a wide range of topics and disciplines, including bibliography, demography, history, legal studies, literature, history of medicine, and philosophy.

Chinese Women in the Imperial Past can rightly be seen as connected with the new Brill journal NAN NÜ, Men, Women and Gender in Early and Imperial China, which was founded to provide the scholarly community with a lasting forum in which the subject of Chinese women and gender can be dealt with in its own right.

The Chinese Sky during the Han

Constellating Stars and Society


Xiaochun Sun and Jacob Kistemaker

A reconstruction of the Chinese sky of two thousand years ago, based on analysis of the first star catalogue in China and other sources. Presented in six well-sized star maps for 100 BC, it is especially important for the history of astronomy. The Han sky, with five times more constellations than Ptolemy knew, reflects diverse human activities. The way in which constellations were grouped discloses a systematic cosmology, uniting universe and the state.
The work of the three Han schools is comparable to Ptolemy's Almagest. With three detailed Appendices on the constellations of the three schools, well illustrated to demonstrate the relation between sky and human society, this book is valuable not only for astronomy historians and sinologists, but in general for scholars interested in the ancient cultures of Asia.

Barend ter Haar

The extensive ritual and mythological lore of the Chinese Triads form the scope of this new paperback title in Brill’s Scholars’ List. The author critically evaluates the extant sources and offers a wealth of contextual information. The core of the book is formed by a close reading of the initiation ritual, including the burning of incense, the altar, the enactment of a journey of life and death, and the blood covenant. Different narrative structures are also presented. These include the messianic demonological paradigm, political legitimation, and the foundation of myth. Triad lore is placed in its own religious and cultural context, allowing radically new conclusions about its origins, meanings and functions. This book is of special interest to social historians, anthropologists, and students of Chinese religious culture.

Leyden Studies in Sinology

Papers Presented at the Conference held in Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Sinological Institute of Leyden University, December 8-12, 1980


Wilt Idema

Edited by Angela Ki Che Leung

This book is the first scholarly work in English on medicine for women in pre-Song China. The essays deal with key issues in early Chinese gynecology and obstetrics, and how they were formulated before the Song when medicine for women reached maturity. The reader will find that medical questions in early China also reflected religious and social issues. The authors, based in North America and East Asia, describe and analyze women’s bodies, illnesses, and childbirth experiences according to a variety of archaeological materials and historical texts. The essays reveal a rich and complex picture of early views on the female medical and social body that have wide implications for other institutions of the period, and on medicine and women in the later imperial era.


Barend ter Haar

This book provides a new hypothesis for understanding the real nature of the term White Lotus Teachings. The author argues that there are actually two different phenomena covered by similar terms: from c. 1130 until 1400, a real lay Buddhist movement existed, which can be called the White Lotus movement. It enjoyed the respect of contemporary literari and religious elites. The movement used the autonym White Lotus Society, which came to be prohibited in the early Ming and was discarded as a result. After 1525, the name reappeared in the form White Lotus Teachings, but now only as a derogatory label, used by officials and literati rather than by believers themselves.
As a result of this hypothesis, the history of the "White Lotus Teachings" changes from one of religious groups and magicians into one of elite ideology and religious persecution. The book is therefore important both for historians and anthropologists of Chinese religion and society, and for comparative historians interested in the ideological and social construction of "heterodoxy".

The Eternal Present of the Past

Illustration, Theatre, and Reading in the Wanli Period, 1573-1619


Li-ling Hsiao

This study draws together various elements in late Ming culture – illustration, theater, literature – and examines their interrelation in the context of the publication of drama. It examines a late Ming conception of the stage as a mystical space in which the past was literally reborn within the present. This temporal conflation allowed the past to serve as a vigorous and immediate moral example and was considered a hugely important mechanism by which the continuity of the Confucian tradition could be upheld.
By using theatrical conventions of stage arrangement, acting gesture, and frontal address, drama illustration recreated the mystical character of the stage within the pages of the book, and thus set the conflation of past and present on a broader footing.

China Bibliography

A Research Guide to Reference Works about China Past and Present


Harriet T. Zurndorfer

This volume serves as a guide to all facets of China study: from advice on choosing an appropriate literary dictionary to finding the most recent yearbooks that offer statistical data about the contemporary economy. China Bibliography does not restrict itself to one particular 'discipline', but considers the development of Chinese civilization as a whole, from its imperial beginnings to the present, and therefore demonstrates how one would find information about Chinese history, literature, religion, linguistics, collectanea, as well as present day PRC economic and political policies. Because this book also explains how bibliographical data on China has accumulated over the last 300 years (including within China itself), it also may help the reader understand the significance of a particular type of reference work.


Edited by Lars Laamann

The Manchus, we commonly read, began a process of irreversible Sinification shortly after their victory of 1644 and steered in terminable decline towards ethnic assimilation before they were finally relegated to the history books in 1911. The May Fourth generation regarded Manchus as alien imperialists, who subdued the vitality of the Han-Chinese majority, so that another wave of alien imperialists could force China into a straight-jacket of Unequal Treaties. However, since the 1980s a far more nuanced picture is emerging, based on hitherto unknown archival documents in Manchu. The present volume, with its state-of-the-art selection of academic articles in English, exemplifies this latest stage in the historical analysis of the Manchus in modern Chinese history, characterised by the reversal of previous ideological considerations.

Brill's Critical Readings publications are a one-stop reference resource in English, presenting high quality scholarship on one subject area assembled by experts in the field. By selecting the best material published to-date from a huge bank of sources, and contextualizing it thematically, the editor creates a unique tool for rapid access not only to seminal works but also to less familiar texts.