This work is an annotated edition of a ritual manuscript, written in the traditional Zhuang character script. The Hanvueng epic is a narrative in verse about murderous enmity between two royal step-brothers, recited when there is fraternal feuding, death by violence, outbreaks of smallpox, or other such disasters. The theme of enmity is an important one that resonates deeply in the Tai societies on the periphery of the Chinese empire. The narrative touches on many other aspects of life in the valley-kingdoms in the highlands of Guangxi: marriage and inheritance, match-making, slavery and social stratification, agriculture, hunting, fishing, raiding, livestock raising dye-making, wild animals and plants, and the use of ritual to put things to rights.
David Holm, D.Phil. (1980) in Chinese, University of Oxford, is Professor in the Department of Ethnology at National Chengchi University. He has published extensively on the traditional language and culture of the Zhuang, a Tai-speaking people indigenous to Southern China.
Meng Yuanyao, PhD (2002) University of Melbourne, is Professor in the Department of Minority Languages in the Guangxi University for Nationalities. He has published
The Names and Classification of Common Plants in Zhuang (in English, 2006) and numerous books on Zhuang song texts and traditional culture.
Hanvueng: The Goose King and the Ancestral King, An Epic from Guangxi in Southern China (Brill, 2015) by David Holm has been shortlisted for the the 2018 Medal for Excellence in Translation, a major national award that recognises outstanding achievement in translation and the vital role of translators in Australian culture and scholarly discourse.(https://www.humanities.org.au/2018/09/12/shortlist-announced-for-medal-for-excellence-in-translation/)
All interested in the traditional societies of the minority peoples of China and Southeast Asia, vernacular scripts, Tai linguistics, human societies and the natural world, and ritual and religion.