Text and Ritual in Early China

Paperback | January 30, 2008

EditorMartin Kern

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In Text and Ritual in Early China, leading scholars of ancient Chinese history, literature, religion, and archaeology consider the presence and use of texts in religious and political ritual. Through balanced attention to both the received literary tradition and the wide range of recently excavated artifacts, manuscripts, and inscriptions, their combined efforts reveal the rich and multilayered interplay of textual composition and ritual performance. Drawn across disciplinary boundaries, the resulting picture illuminates two of the defining features of early Chinese culture and advances new insights into their sumptuous complexity.

Beginning with a substantial introduction to the conceptual and thematic issues explored in succeeding chapters, Text and Ritual in Early China is anchored by essays on early Chinese cultural history and ritual display (Michael Nylan) and the nature of its textuality (William G. Boltz). This twofold approach sets the stage for studies of the E Jun Qi metal tallies (Lothar von Falkenhausen), the Gongyang commentary to The Spring and Autumn Annals (Joachim Gentz), the early history of The Book of Odes (Martin Kern), moral remonstration in historiography (David Schaberg), the "Liming" manuscript text unearthed at Mawangdui (Mark Csikszentmihalyi), and Eastern Han commemorative stele inscriptions (K. E. Brashier).

The scholarly originality of these essays rests firmly on their authors’ control over ancient sources, newly excavated materials, and modern scholarship across all major Sinological languages. The extensive bibliography is in itself a valuable and reliable reference resource.

This important work will be required reading for scholars of Chinese history, language, literature, philosophy, religion, art history, and archaeology.

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In Text and Ritual in Early China, leading scholars of ancient Chinese history, literature, religion, and archaeology consider the presence and use of texts in religious and political ritual. Through balanced attention to both the received literary tradition and the wide range of recently excavated artifacts, manuscripts, and inscript...

Martin Kern is associate professor of East Asian studies at Princeton University. The other contributors are William G. Boltz, K. E. Brashier, Mark Csikszentmihalyi, Joachim Gentz, Michael Nylan, David Schaberg, and Lothar von Falkenhausen.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:362 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:January 30, 2008Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295987871

ISBN - 13:9780295987873

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Ritual Texture of Early China / Martin Kern1. Toward an Archaeology of Writing: Text, Ritual, and the Culture of Public Display in the Classical Period (475 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) / Michael Nylan2. The Composite Nature of Early Chinese Texts / William G. Boltz3. The E Jun Qi Metal Tallies: Inscribed Texts and Ritual Contexts / Lothar von Falkenhausen4. The Ritual Meaning of Textual Form: Evidence from Early Commentaries of the Historiographic and Ritual Traditions / Joachim Gentz5. The Odes in Excavated Manuscripts / Martin Kern6. Playing at Critique: Indirect Remonstrance and the Formation of Shi Identity / David Schaberg7. Reimagining the Yellow Emperor's Four Faces / Mark Csikszentmihalyi8. Text and Ritual in Early Chinese Stelae / K. E. BrashierWorks CitedContributorsIndex

Editorial Reviews

In Text and Ritual in Early China, leading scholars of ancient Chinese history, literature, religion, and archaeology consider the presence and use of texts in religious and political ritual. Through balanced attention to both the received literary tradition and the wide range of recently excavated artifacts, manuscripts, and inscriptions, their combined efforts reveal the rich and multilayered interplay of textual composition and ritual performance. Drawn across disciplinary boundaries, the resulting picture illuminates two of the defining features of early Chinese culture and advances new insights into their sumptuous complexity.Beginning with a substantial introduction to the conceptual and thematic issues explored in succeeding chapters, Text and Ritual in Early China is anchored by essays on early Chinese cultural history and ritual display (Michael Nylan) and the nature of its textuality (William G. Boltz). This twofold approach sets the stage for studies of the E Jun Qi metal tallies (Lothar von Falkenhausen), the Gongyang commentary to The Spring and Autumn Annals (Joachim Gentz), the early history of The Book of Odes (Martin Kern), moral remonstration in historiography (David Schaberg), the "Liming" manuscript text unearthed at Mawangdui (Mark Csikszentmihalyi), and Eastern Han commemorative stele inscriptions (K. E. Brashier).The scholarly originality of these essays rests firmly on their authors’ control over ancient sources, newly excavated materials, and modern scholarship across all major Sinological languages. The extensive bibliography is in itself a valuable and reliable reference resource.This important work will be required reading for scholars of Chinese history, language, literature, philosophy, religion, art history, and archaeology.This collection points out the necessity of rethinking ancient Chinese texts, and therefore ancient Chinese culture and history, in light of what we now know about the material origin of those texts and the ritual world in which they took form. It is a major statement on the way certain new discoveries and new methodologies are changing the way we conceive of early China. - Stephen Durrant, University of Oregon