HdO Early Chinese Religion: Shang Through Han (1250 BC-220 AD)
by John Lagerwey and Marc Kalinowski (Handbook of Oriental Studies,
Section Four, China: Brill Academic Publishers) Together, and for the first time in any language, the 24
essays gathered in these volumes provide a composite
picture of the history of religion in ancient China from
the emergence of writing ca. 125o BC to the collapse of
the first major imperial dynasty in 220 AD. It is a multifaceted tale of changing gods and rituals that includes the
emergence of a form of "secular humanism" that doubts the existence of the gods and the efficacy of ritual and of an imperial orthodoxy that founds its legitimacy on a distinction between licit and illicit sacrifices. Written by specialists in a variety of disciplines, the essays cover such subjects as divination and cosmology, exorcism and medicine, ethics and self-cultivation, mythology, taboos, sacrifice, shamanism, burial practices, iconography and political philosophy.
Produced under the aegis of the Centre de recherche sur les civilisations chinos, japonaise et tibétaine (UMR
8155) and the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris).
John Lagerwey, Ph.D. Harvard University (1975), is Professor of the history of Daoism and Chinese religions at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris-Sorbonne). His primary publications concern the history of Daoist ritual and the ethnography of local society in southeastern China.
Marc Kalinowski, Ph.D. University of Paris (1979), is Professor of Chinese thought and civilization at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris-Sorbonne). He publishes' extensively on the history of divination and cosmology in ancient China, including Cosmologie et divination dans la Chine ancienne (Paris 1991), and Divination et société dans la Chine médiévale (Paris, 2003).
SHANG AND WESTERN ZHOU (1250-771 BC)
EASTERN ZHOU (770-256 BC)
Volume Two: QIN AND HAN (221 BC-220 AD)
CHRONOLOGY OF DYNASTIES AND PERIODS
Over the course of the 5th-3rd centuries BC, dramatic changes took place in what we now call China. Insofar as these changes led to the founding of the first unified empire in Chinese history—the Qin, from which we probably derive the name "China"—we may say that the essays in these two volumes are about the cultural birth of "China."
But before exploring these transformations in detail, it will be useful for the reader to understand the unique nature of the book he holds in his hands. It is not a standard history, in which each successive period is unfurled before the eyes of the reader in a unilinear account. It is, rather, a multidisciplinary endeavor, with chapters devoted to archaeology, philosophy, divination, sacrifice, mythology and many other specialized topics. This approach is in the first place a reflection of the resolutely broad definition of religion discussed briefly in the conclusion below. It is also the result of ongoing discoveries of new materials which have regularly created whole new fields of investigation and, in so doing, have renewed the interests and methods of historians of ancient China. Ritual inscriptions of the Shang (1600-1046 BC) and Zhou (1045-256 BC), manuscripts on bamboo and silk from the Warring States (481-222 BC), Qin (221-207 BC) and Han (206 BC-220 AD), as well as the wealth of new information derived from architecture and funerary archaeology —all represent new specialties which help resolve uncertainties and fill in the fragmentary picture provided by received texts. For the earliest periods, these discoveries in fact represent all we have, other than some legends and historicized myths. These new developments have in turn been accompanied by and contributed to signal advances in the field of philology and textual criticism. Criteria for dating texts have been refined, and our knowledge of the functions and modes of diffusion of writing before the Han dynasty has increased considerably. Interestingly enough, archaeological discoveries have helped give new value to transmitted texts, and paleographers and specialists of the manuscripts found in tombs are often among the most ardent proponents of the current tendency to fix the date of composition of texts once thought to be late or apocryphal as early as possible. Even if we do well to avoid the excesses of certain reconstructions, received texts as a whole remain an irreplaceable source for the study of ancient China.
This is all the more so in that the documents discovered in tombs are often in deplorable or fragmentary state. In addition, each corpus gives witness to conceptions and practices which have to do with functional contexts, making a simple diachronic assessment extremely difficult. For example, as Robert Eno quite rightly remarks, comparison of Shang and Zhou pantheons on the basis of recovered contemporary textual sources is at present simply not a feasible project, precisely because the function of the Shang oracle bone inscriptions is utterly different from that of the Zhou bronze commemorative inscriptions. We must also take into account the fact that excavated texts are not direct expressions of the realities they represent: they use rhetorical procedures which correspond to precise social constraints and ideological motivations and therefore require every bit as much interpretive prudence as received texts. Finally, the further along in time we go, the more abundant the sources become and the more they diversify and include larger segments of society. What might therefore at first glance seem to be the progressive popularization of practices once reserved to the ruling elites proves in fact to be an illusion caused by our lack of information about the customs current outside the elite in the Shang and Zhou. In the same manner, the term "common religion" now widely used to refer to the practices revealed by the Warring States and Han manuscripts has more to do with the fact these practices belonged to the private sphere than that they were truly popular or common to all levels of society.
Another problem that needs to be evoked at the outset is that of periodization. It is of course customary to count Chinese time in dynasties, and the very title of this book conforms to that custom: coverage begins with that part of the Shang dynasty for which we have written sources (1250-1046 BC) and ends with the fall of the Han in 220 AD. The Zhou dynasty is in turn traditionally divided into Western (1045-771 BC) and Eastern (770-256 BC) Zhou, and the latter yet again into the Spring and Autumn (770-482) and Warring States periods. It is well known that such political time lines are of limited relevance to a religious or cultural—or even an economic or social—history. Both the battle of Muye (ca. 1045 BC)—which marked the start of the Western Zhou—and the self-proclamation of King Zheng of Qin as First Emperor (Shi huangdi) in 221 BC were events destined to have a major impact on the future, but the power of inertia characteristic of religious institutions and practices meant that the passage from one context to another was progressive, and the truly major breaks, at least in this regard, often took place a good while later. For example, we know that the sacrificial liturgies of the first Zhou kings were modeled on those of the late Shang. The consensus of archaeologists and art historians today is that the real transformation of the material and functional modalities of the ancestor cult did not occur before the Western Zhou "ritual reform" of the 9th century BC.
Similarly, archaeological discoveries from the Warring States and the beginning of the Han have revealed that the year 221 BC did not constitute a break as emblematic and radical as we are accustomed to thinking: a calendar discovered at Mawangdui (168 BC) identifies the "first year of the [First] Emperor of Qin" as the year 246 BC, when he succeeded his father on the Qin throne, and not the year of his self-proclamation as emperor 25 years later. These discoveries, together with the studies of historians over the last several decades, have tended increasingly to show that the break with the intellectual and religious traditions of the Warring States does not become final until the second half of the 15t century BC—precisely at a time when, at the end of the Western Han (206 BC-8 AD) and during Wang Mang's Xin (New) dynasty (9-24 AD), there is a "return to Zhou institutions."
Though hardly without meaning, the dates which mark the beginning and the end of the Eastern Zhou remain poorly defined. The entire period is viewed by some as an era of transition, not to say a mere hyphen between the ancient kingdoms and the early empire, while for others it is the crucible in which the distinctive traits of Chinese civilization were formed and matured. If we ignore the ideological assumptions which underlie both visions, it is clear that both contain a grain of truth and that the term "axial age" so often used for this critical phase of the historical development of China is by no means misplaced.
The transfer of the Zhou capital toward the east around 770 BC represents the start of a long process of decomposition of the system of lineage privileges and alliances which characterized the regime of political and territorial domination created by the first Zhou kings. Over the five centuries of the Eastern Zhou, increasingly large principalities struggled for hegemonic power over the entire area under the influence of the Zhou kings. During the Warring States period, these principalities became independent states with powerful monarchs reigning over a hierarchy of high officials, prefects and local officials. To one of them—King Zheng of Qin—would fall the privilege of founding the empire at the end of a long war of conquest that bore a heavy cost in human lives. Among the most important changes that occurred during the Eastern Zhou are a major rise in population and expansion of territory, the multiplication of important urban centers and the increasing secularization of the practice of government. The first speculation about man and his place in society began toward the end of the Spring and Autumn period. After Kong Qiu. (Confucius; 551-479 BC) and his disciples, defenders of traditional values and of a humanism based on education, ritual practice and moral amelioration, various schools of thought and wisdom developed and engaged in ongoing debates in the princely courts of the 5th to 3rd centuries BC. Religion, science and technology all underwent unprecedented change.
Thus what happened in China's "axial age" took time, centuries even. But that it was very early on understood as a cataclysm may be seen in the phrase ascribed to Confucius to the effect that "the rites were in disarray, and music had collapsed". It is because of this cataclysm that so many of the 24 essays in these two volumes explore the question of before and after. Not that there was no continuity between before and after, but that the late Eastern Zhou provides the indispensable key for understanding the history of early Chinese religion and culture, as we shall try to suggest in what follows.
Shang and Western Zhou (1250-771 BC)'
From Robert Eno's very careful account of the Shang "pantheon" we get our first lesson in sources: 60 per cent of all recovered oracle bones date to the reign of Wu-ding (r. ca. 1250-1192 BC), and virtually all our knowledge of Shang gods comes from his reign. Starting with his son Zujia, most of the rich pantheon disappears, and with it the great variety of rituals as well. The rituals are reduced to a cycle of five performed on a regular basis for the dynastic ancestors, all of whom are identified by posthumous names that include the day in the Shang well as the traces of numerous human sacrificial victims around them together reveal the exceptional status of the king at the top of the social pyramid, at the point of contact between human society and the world of the gods. Tombs were also places of worship, as can be seen from the architectural vestiges above the only royal tomb to have been discovered intact, that of Fu Hao (d. ca. 1200 BC), principal wife of Wu-ding. The fact this otherwise quite modest tomb was associated with no fewer than 16 human victims and contained 210 ritual bronzes, 755 amulets of jade and 134 bronze weapons gives some idea of the colossal Shang investment in the tombs of the royal elite.
If the changes that occurred after the Zhou conquest in the mid-11th th century were not immediate, they were nonetheless decisive for the future evolution of political doctrines and religious ideologies. The first of these changes is the appearance of the notion of Heaven, which had an immense impact on conceptions of dynastic legitimacy and on the constitution of a cosmic theology based on natural cycles and the interpretation of presages. According to Eno, Heaven and the "mandate" associated with it (tianming) represents a "fundamentally new element of state religion: a theodicy" The earliest reference to the Mandate of Heaven, on a bronze inscription dated 998, claims the Zhou founder King Wu (Martial) "permitted no excess; at sacrificial rites, he permitted no drunkenness," by contrast with the Shang, who "sank into drunkenness." The second major change, the ritual reform already alluded to and which, in Martin Kern's words, was "first discovered by Jessica Rawson and later significantly elaborated upon by Lothar von Falkenhausen," is shown by Alain Thote to be reflected in changing grave goods: from the start of the Zhou, gui vessels for cereals became indispensable, while vessels for ale dwindled in number until they disappeared altogether. Graded sets of bells and chime stones were added, representing at once dramatic musical change and a clear social hierarchy. But perhaps most significant of all is the fact that "almost all references to animals other than the dragon disappeared from the vessels." Decoration of the bronzes, based almost exclusively on the dragon motif, became so highly abstract it has been referred to as "geometrical."
In his chapter on Western Zhou ancestor worship, by innovative reading of received and recently discovered texts Martin Kern brings rich new nuance to the scholarly consensus on the Heavenly Mandate and the ritual reform. Once again, ongoing discoveries are vital: a 2001 list of 5,758 bronze inscriptions from the late Shang and Zhou is already out of date because "numerous new finds, some of them spectacular, have been added to the record." They make it possible to divide the dynasty into early (ca. 1045-957 BC), middle (956-858 BC) and late (857-771 BC) periods. He begins by noting that the linked notions of the Heavenly Mandate and the Son of Heaven (tianzi ) appear only rarely in the early period, and the "formulaic pair 'King Wen and King Wu' (Wen Wu)" not at all. It is in the middle and above all in the late period that all three concepts become clearly central: "The commemoration of origin, and with it of the religious legitimacy of the entire dynasty, created an ideal past as a parallel reality to an actual experience of loss and decay" It is on this idealization that, several centuries later, Confucius and his disciples would build.
Kern does not contest the dating of the ritual reform but profoundly enhances our understanding of it by his analysis of textual aesthetics and the "space of the ancestral sacrifice." He suggests, first, that the famous zhaomu array of ancestral tablets referred originally to the placement of the tablets of kings Zhao (r. 977-957 BC) and Mu (r. 956-918 BC) to the left and right of that of King Kang (r. 1003-978 BC) in what is called in the bronze inscriptions "Kang's palace References to this and other "palaces" ( gong p-;) are far more frequent in the inscriptions than the more familiar term "temple" (miao J). The fact both administrative appointments and ancestral sacrifices took place in this "palace" implies the utter imbrication of the political and the religious, as does the link between banquet and ancestral sacrifice in the "Court hymns" of the Shijing (Book of songs). Relying on the work of anthropologists and linguists, Kern underlines the "striking overlap between the language of poetry, the aesthetics of ritual and the ideology of memory" as expressed in these hymns. As for the speeches of the early kings in the Shujing Mel (Book of documents), they are not taken from Zhou archives but are imagined (as is also the case in the much later Zuozhuan.
The speeches fit precisely into the historical context of mid- and late Western Zhou times when the practice of the ancestral sacrifice was expanded into a much broader culture of commemoration that increasingly fused religious service with political purpose. This is the time of the grand commemorative banquet hymns as well as of court rituals that were no longer addressed to a small group of clan members but to a much broader political elite.
In his survey of the bronze inscriptions "initially hidden deep inside the vessel and hence not visible for the human eye or at least very hard to discern:' Kern comes back to the ritual reform, concluding his description of the standardization of the bronzes and the subsequent stability of design over the last century of the Western Zhou by citing von Falkenhausen: "Archaistic referentiality in the typology and ornamentation of ritual bronzes would have been but a minor manifestation of a consummately history-conscious ritual ideology" Kern detects the same features in the language of the inscriptions and suggests the aesthetic features of the court hymns in the Songs "seem parallel to late Western Zhou bronzes" In like manner, the earliest texts in the Documents are not about history but about the selective memory of history as perpetuated in the context of the ancestral sacrifice: "This memory remained alive as long as it was perpetuated in the ever renewed performance of the ancestral sacrifice and court banquets:
In short, there was a reorientation of royal worship toward the living, and the ancestral sacrifice became, to use the expression of Pierre Nora, a "place of memory."' We may add that the fact cereals became central to this sacrifice no doubt reflected not just economic but religious change: the Zhou ancestor Houji was the god of cereals.
The centrality of the ancestors throughout the royal period should not occult the gods and the rites celebrated in their honor. The contribution of Kominami Ichirô is in this regard essential, for in his study of the she (the altar of the god of earth or territory) he shows that the worship of territorial gods was the indispensable counterpart of the ancestor cult. Kominami's chapter starts with a question: why is the place name Botu, Earth of Bo, so widespread in North China? In the oracle bones, Botu clearly refers to an earth god who receives sacrifices. Later texts identify it as the Shang territorial god, and Kominami uses these texts to suggest Botu refers to the Shang practice of carrying a clod of earth from their home Botu altar into battles of conquest and then, if victorious, mixing this "ancestral" earth with local earth to make a new Botu altar. Shang expansion was expressed religiously by the transfer to each new frontier post of the earth god altar—and of the tablets of the ancestors, but only after the creation of the altar.
The great attraction of this hypothesis is that it implies that, from the beginnings of Chinese written history, there was a fundamental complementarity between these two modes of worship, that of the ancestors and that of the earth as territory. Kominami adds to the attractiveness of his hypothesis by his exploration of the links between the character for "Bo" in Botu and the character fu in the term "spreading earth" ( futu ft±.), a term that refers to the magic, swelling earth stolen from heaven by the Great Yu's father Gun M in order to put a stop to the flood. As Mark Edward Lewis shows in his chapter, the flood and related tales of Yu's labors constitute one of the most important myth cycles in early China.
Eastern Zhou (770-256 BC)
The collapse of royal political authority in the Eastern Zhou may be seen from the fact sumptuary rules were no longer followed and distinctive regional traditions were free to develop. According to Alain Thote, prototypes of the tomb as microcosm first appear in the state of Qin which, in the tomb of Prince ling (d. 536) also has the biggest tomb so far discovered, with no fewer than 166 human victims. Substitute grave goods, later referred to as mingqi ("spirit artifacts"), began to appear in Qin tombs from around 700 BC and pottery models from the 6th century. In Chu tombs, which were far more lavish than those in Qin, earthenware models of ritual vessels first appeared in the 8th century, and they were of a higher quality. Starting in the 5th century, Chu also contributed to the creation of the tomb-home, as can be seen in the tomb of the marquis Yi of Zeng (d. 433), composed of several rooms through which the soul could circulate as in a house. In the 4th-3rd centuries BC, rich tombs came to be covered by a tumulus, and ever more attention was paid to the preservation of the body. Ritual bronzes declined in quality and finally disappeared, replaced by items of daily life, and the food in the tombs was now provisions, not offerings. Finally, human victims disappeared and guardian monsters made their appearance inside the tombs. Together, these changes reflected a world in which the power and prestige of ancestors had declined precipitously, and the living were concerned to ensure that the deceased were comfortable in their new "homes:' but also that they would not come back to haunt the living.
The Eastern Zhou was characterized not only by the collapse of royal power and the rise of powerful states on the periphery—states that would eventually fight to the finish until only the one state of Qin remained—but also by the emergence of newly powerful lineages in the various states and the rise to prominence of the shi ± class which had formerly occupied the bottom rung of the aristocracy. It was a time, in short, of political volatility and social mobility, when "the rites were in disarray, and music had collapsed." According to Constance Cook, this "caused a shift from historical to mythical founder deities and a focus on nature worship." In her analysis of the religious nuances of what is traditionally understood as an investiture rite (feng t), Cook highlights the role of founder cults along with the growing importance of territorial cults (she and sheji *±R) and the progressive transformation of lineage ancestors into national gods. The most important factor of change, however, was no doubt the newly powerful states that were not a part of the Zhou kinship system. Qi and Qin, for example, claimed descent respectively from the sage kings Tang (founder of the Shang) and Yu. This meant that participation of all collateral branches in joint worship of the apical Zhou ancestor no longer had any political meaning.
In his account of the meng (covenant) ritual by means of which the Zhou states engaged in sworn alliances, Mu-chou Poo provides further insight into the Zhou pantheon. After drinking the blood of the sacrificial victim, the parties to the contract buried the covenant text with the victim. The commitment to the covenant was expressed in a curse, an example of which Poo quotes from the Zuozhuan (the Zuo commentary):
Should any prince break these engagements, may He who watches over men's sincerity and He who watches over covenants, [the Spirits of] the famous hills and [of] the famous streams, the kings and dukes our predecessors, the whole host of Spirits, and all who are sacrificed to, the ancestors of our twelve states with their seven surnames: may all these intelligent Spirits destroy him, so that he shall lose his people, his appointment pass from him, his family perish, and his State be utterly overthrown!
In another case, it was the River that was called to witness. In short, interstate relations were, in these examples, "guaranteed" by a pantheon that seems to have been constructed very much like that of the Shang king Wu-ding, with its combination of territorial and ancestor gods. Interestingly, the early 5th century BC examples of such political covenants found at Houma make no mention of any gods other than the ancestors, perhaps because they had to do only with the domestic politics of the state of Jin.
The Zuozhuan or commentary of Mr. Zuo on the Chunqiu (Annals) of the state of Lu provides both Yuri Pines and Marc Kalinowski some of their most important materials, the first for his study of early Chinese historiography, the second for his analysis of divination in the Eastern Zhou. Pines begins by noting that the earliest documents containing historical narratives are the early Western Zhou bronze inscriptions referred to above. The events described in them were reported in highly selective manner so as to please their addressees, the ancestors, and the Annals carries on that tradition of ritually appropriate recording of events based on scribal reports probably kept, like the tortoise plastrons, in the ancestral temple: "Through their staunch preference for ritual reality over historical facts, and through their judgment of political actors, the court scribes and their employers hoped to preserve the deteriorating ritual order intact." With the appropriation of the Annals by Confucius or his disciples, history writing bifurcates into "sacred" and "secular" traditions. Entries in the Annals were now understood as messages addressed not to the ancestors but to living contemporaries, and their stylistic particularities were interpreted as a politico-ethical commentary on the course of events. The Annals rapidly acquired the status of a canonical text, and the first commentarial traditions appeared. In the Zuo commentary, history became a mirror aimed at supplying members of the educated elite with a working knowledge of past events: "Its protagonists routinely invoke the past in a variety of court or interstate debates, and their superior knowledge of former events becomes a useful polemical weapon." According to Pines, the Zuo's detailed account of events that are recorded in lapidary and ritual fashion in the Annals enables the reader to see how ritual has skewed history and thereby undermines the authority of the canonical text.
In his chapter, Kalinowski provides the first complete study of the 132 accounts of divination in the Zuo commentary. He then compares these narratives with records of actual divinations found in Chu manuscripts of the 4th century BC. The respective rhetorical characteristics of these two different kinds of sources reveal significant changes in the way in which the mantic arts were perceived and practiced in the courts of the period. Kalinowski underlines the rise in importance of astrology and of omen interpretation to the detriment of turtle and milfoil divination, as well as on the increasing participation in mantic operations of non-official specialists, thanks especially to the Yijing (Book of changes). He suggests that these changes reveal a religious conflict between the sacrificial liturgy of the diviners using ancient tortoise and yarrow stalk methods and the cosmological and calendrical conceptions which underly the predictive procedures used by astrologers and interpreters of omens.
But most interesting of all is the fact that, in the Zuozhuan, the truly efficacious diviners are prescient counsellors who know history and understand human nature. When there is a conflict between a diviner and a counsellor, it is always the latter who wins:
This appropriation of divination by worthy counsellors is all the more evident as most of the speeches attributed to them in the Zuozhuan are composed in an oracular style which anticipates the events to come without any recourse to a particular technique. The authors of these "predictive discourses" appear as gifted with innate foreknowledge, and they provide the narrator with an indirect but effective weapon for criticizing traditional forms of technical divination ... Over against the techniques of the scribes and diviners, they prone a form of intelligence which consists in seeing the premises of future change in present situations.
The Baoshan "divinatory and sacrificial records" of 316 BC described by Kalinowski in the second half of his chapter reveal to us a high official of the state of Chu engaging in regular divination about the year to come, much as the Shang kings did when divining about the coming ten-day "week:' The aim of these divinatory rituals was less to divine the future than to know what sacrifices to make and to whom they should be addressed:
The recommended rites can be sacrifices of animals or food destined, as here, for the direct ancestors of the consultant, or for the mythical heroes of Chu, or for nature deities and local or domestic gods. The proposals also mention non-sacrificial rites of conjuration and exorcism of evil spirits as well as various observances such as fasting.
In the course of a little more than two years, the no fewer than 12 diviners consulted on behalf of the official proposed sacrifices to the ancestors and the gods involving a total of 70 animals, "among them 36 pigs, 23 sheep, 9 oxen, 6 dogs and a horse."
While Kalinowski's chapter focuses on the changes in the status and functions of diviners in the 6th-4th centuries and Fu-shih Lin's chapter on shamans (wu W)' covers the entire ancient period, Lin shows that a dramatic drop in the status of the shamans occurred at much the same time as that of the diviners. In the Shang, the word wu referred at once to a divine figure, a kind of sacrifice and a person with a special status or function. The wu could also be used as a sacrificial victim. For the early Zhou we have no information, but the Rites of Zhou include a "chief shaman" in charge of male (xi N) and female shamans (wu) who perform a wide range of rituals, including exorcisms, sacrifices and rain dances. Lin cites Warring States and Han texts that show the involvement of shamans in healing, divining, fortune-telling and black magic of various kinds. Throughout the Western Han, they continued to hold official positions in the government, as they clearly had in the various feudal states in the pre-imperial period as well.
None of this, however, prevented them from coming under systematic attack by virtually all thinkers of the Warring States period. The Zuo commentary has a counsellor ask a duke how exposing to the sun a "foolish woman"—his way of referring to a wu—could possibly end a drought. Xunzi speaks of male and female shamans, respectively, as "cripples" and "hunchbacks," suggesting they were abnormal and contemptible. Han attacks are even more virulent, with the wu being described as cheats and purveyors of "sinister practices" (zuodao). But the most telling explanation of their precipitous decline in status comes from a famous tale recounted in one of the early chapters of the Zhuangzi In it, Liezi, disciple of a master of the Dao, encounters a shaman whom he thinks is even more powerful than his master. His master has the shaman come in to "physiognomize" him on several successive days, each time showing the shaman a different aspect of his internal world. Each time, the shaman sees not the reality of the master of the Dao but only what the master lets him see. The last time what the master shows him is so terrifying that the shaman runs off too fast for Liezi to catch him. Chastened, Liezi goes home and, for three years, replaces his wife at the stove and feeds the pigs as though they were humans.
In short, the once powerful wu, whose techniques had been universally feared and required, had now a challenger in the practitioner of self-cultivation techniques. "Self-cultivation" writes Romain Graziani, "presupposes without explicitly stating it a deep faith in human moral liberation and in the possibility of perfecting oneself:' At the same time, because the standard context for the production of texts was the courts of the various lords, not only was the ruler the ideal reader, the subject of self-cultivation himself was imagined in terms of the metaphor of sovereignty. While Graziani concludes that this implies, in the end, that "the literati of the ancient world had given precedence to the king over the self, and valued subjection over subjectivity," he also recalls that the Zhuangzi is "in open conflict with the social models of wisdom and virtue elaborated in the Ru schools." But what is perhaps most important in Graziani's account is that it underlines the importance of the discovery and exploration of subjectivity—the interior—to a rounded understanding of the Warring States transformation of the Chinese world:
Self-cultivation leads to the interiorization of social and ritual values ... It consists of an ever-ascending path wherein one's basic vital energy (qi ) is transformed into quintessential energy, or vital essence (jing ), which is itself, in turn, converted to spiritual energy, or Spirit (shen ... [These texts were] like a declaration of independence of the human mind from divinatory procedures ... and an affirmation of personal power over one's surrounding objective conditions.
While negativity about desire and emphasis on self-discipline make comparison with Stoic spirituality a natural move, in stark contrast with the self of Western philosophical and religious traditions that of the self-cultivation texts is never seen as in inner conflict "between reason and feeling, desire and will, the animal and the reasonable parts within us:' With respect to "moral stipulations and ritual norms," Graziani sees a significant difference between Confucian and Daoist currents of self-cultivation. In texts like the Wuxing pian (Book of the five kinds of action; late 4th or early 3rd century BC), self-cultivation is "intimately linked to the practice of social virtues ... [and] vital impulse and ethical tendency are fundamentally one:' It is a precondition for truly virtuous action that the five social virtues be interiorized. In the Zhuangzi, by contrast, the ideal person "wanders in the land of non-being," and there is an "irretrievable breach between social values and vital élan, between individual liberation and the necessity to conform to one's role in society:' The conflict between these two currents of self-cultivation is most apparent in their contrasted attitudes toward physical beauty:
By the complementarity of moral self-cultivation and penal policy, the former producing complete and radiant bodies, the latter mutilated and crippled ones, both Confucianism and Legalism play on the same keyboard of aesthetic values in a different mode... The Zhuangzi depicts compliance to the rites and laws as a means to cripple one's inborn nature ... The Sage's serene indifference to outward contingencies is praised as the privilege of amputated men. Amputation is a stroke of luck that frees one.
We may recall here Xunzi, who refers with infinite disdain to "hunchback shamanesses and crippled shamans:' In one fundamental regard, however, texts from these conflicting currents agree on one basic idea, namely, that the self is "the totality of its concrete aspects, not an immortal ontological reality distinct from the body:' There is "no Cartesian opposition of mind and matter:' and intentionality, so central to Western reflection on the self as an "autonomous agent:' is irrelevant to the Chinese discovery of self as "a purely vital activity:' Graziani therefore insists throughout on the impersonal character of the cultivated self—precisely what, as we shall see, Levi underscores in his analysis of the Dao and the image of the ideal monarch as a transcendent self evolving beyond the realm of forms.
In his chapter, Mark Csikszentmihàlyi looks at the relationship between self-cultivation and ethics. Ritual, for the elite, is no longer about buying the assistance of the gods with sacrifices but about ethical training and socialization. Proper ritual attitudes—fear, awe, yielding and reverence—help produce virtuous dispositions and channel behavior into non anti-social forms. According to the Lunyu (Analects), for example, to serve one's parents without reverence is not a moral action. What Csikszentmihàlyi calls "material virtue texts"—texts like the Wuxing pian recently discovered in tombs from the late Warring States and early imperial periods—affirm that these learned attitudes in turn have physical effects on the qi (energies) of the body, producing a "white mind and lustrous body:' Luster refers to jade, and the eyes are a "window on the soul:' "White mind" is the title of a chapter in the Guanzi and refers to growing "closer to the spirit world" through self-cultivation. In general, whiteness and brightness refer to the spirit world, as in the terms "bright spirits" (mingshen) and "Hall of Light" (Mingtang). Mencius refers, similarly, to "radiantly bright" qi. He also claims that sincere people always move others, while Ying Shao (fl. 203) explains that sincerity enables avoidance of misfortune: "By returning to sincerity and relying on righteousness, examining one's interior without guilt: then outside things cannot move one, and disasters will be turned into good fortune:' The "Zhongyong", a chapter of the Liji (Book of rites), says the sincere person has foreknowledge and a spirit-like capacity to change and adapt. The Lüshi chunqiu (Annals of Sire Lü) explains that true sincerity, together with consolidation of one's inner nature (through self-cultivation practices) enables the person to communicate with Heaven and "move the nature of water, wood, and stone. How much the more so someone made of blood and qi? For all those who work at persuasion and governing, nothing is as good as sincerity" Thus at the very beginning of the imperial period are the paths of ritual and physical self-cultivation conjugated to produce a model of spiritual eliteness in which social ethics, political power and bodily health converged.
One of the pre-conditions of this unitary spiritual path to nobility was the emergence of the notion of qi, a notion that made it possible to think in the same terms about the universe as a whole, the course of the seasons, human health and ethics. In his chapter on the evolution of medical theory, Li Jianmin says that "wind" replaces demons as the principle explanation of illness from the Warring States on. One of the earliest medical classics, the Suwen (Plain questions), "proposes that in general all disease originates from the changes of the six qi and that physicians must observe the disease mechanisms and not violate the principles of the movements of the six qi." Contemporaries, says the Suwen, "have lost compliance with the four seasons and go against what is appropriate in the cold or in summer heat." Ghosts and demons do not disappear altogether from the medical classics, but they are seen above all as the cause of "withdrawal" and "mania," that is, psychological illness. Even strange dreams are explained in physiological terms, as the result of fear caused by lack of blood and qi in the heart that leads to dispersal of the spirit when asleep. In this context, belief in spirits and ritual cures was seen as preventing patients from trusting doctors and being cured by them. By contrast, "nurturing life"—self-cultivation—was the natural way to avoid illness.
Csikszentmihàlyi cites texts which show how this unitary theory of qi and the seasons comes to expression in both the realm of physical self-cultivation and social ethics. The Way of Pengzu to good health and long life is summarized in a text found at Zhangjiashan as "producing in spring, maturing in summer, harvesting in autumn and storing in winter." Xunzi, in his treatise on music, draws on the same seasonal/ climatological model:
Creating in spring and maturing in summer, this is benevolence Gathering in autumn and storing in winter, this is righteousness n. Benevolence is close to music and righteousness to ritual. Music is a matter of honesty and harmony, and so one leads the spirits by following Heaven. Ritual is a matter of segregation and appropriateness, and so one lodges the demons by following Earth. Thus when the sages created music they did it by echoing Heaven, and when they designed the rites they did it to match the Earth. As Li Jianmin says, it has become "hard to distinguish between climatology-cosmology and medicine"
Mark Lewis begins his chapter with a synthesis of modern studies of early Chinese mythology, which he sees as all sharing the assumption that the authors of antiquity who transmitted the myths were in fact trying to hide or eliminate them. Modern scholars have therefore taken it to be their brief to recover the reality hidden behind the rationalizing and historicizing versions of the myths. Lewis' own approach, which he refers to as "positive aims, rather, at making explicit the meaning of the myths and legends as revealed by the roles they played in the social context in which they were written down, primarily during the Warring States. In the writings of that period, for reasons already mentioned in connection with Graziani's study of self-cultivation, a central place was given to the mythology of statecraft, which appears in tales in what would become the classics as well as in philosophical texts that refer constantly to the legendary sovereigns, sage kings and enlightened ministers of antiquity. Thus the tales of Yao and Shun ?, two emperors of high antiquity said to have transferred power to virtuous ministers rather than to their sons, show how the "end of kin-based empire brought into conflict heredity and talent" The emerging class of thinkers and persuaders—the future literati—used these myths to advance the cause of the non-hereditary principle. The background for the tales of Yu A taming the flood, by contrast, is the "restructuring of a unified world" in the Warring States: "In this schema the flood, and the primal chaos with which it is linked, stand for all the criminality, bad government and intellectual deviance that threatened the social order." Yu is also the "mythic prototype for the god of the altar of the soil" and, as the father of the founder of the first "dynasty" the Xia, the legitimator of lineage and the hereditary principle. Shennong (Divine Farmer), a god of agriculture who appears late in the Warring States era, represents an "agrarian utopia prior to the state while the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi ), "originally a dragon spirit deity of the storm," in defeating the Fiery Emperor, Chiyou, a drought spirit and prototype of the exorcist who protects tombs, negates the latter's martial prowess and signifies the "rejection of the old aristocracy":
The innovations of the Yellow Emperor... gave mythic origins to the elements of the new style of warfare that had emerged. These included the reliance on infantry armies composed of peasants ... and the incorporation of these armies and specialists into a state order defined by the semi-divine ruler and his ritual performances.
In sum, the chapters of Thote, Cook, Poo, Pines, Kalinowski, Lin, Graziani, Csikszentmihàlyi, Li and Lewis all reveal different aspects of the Warring States transformation. These changes may be summarized as a process of rationalization and interiorization. The rationalization process—the creation of a kind of "unified field theory" built on the notion of qi—ran parallel to and no doubt to a certain degree reflected ongoing economic and administrative rationalization. That this is so may be seen from the fact that, from 300 BC on, we begin to catch glimpses of an underworld bureaucracy for the dead comparable to that which is also emerging above ground. The fact the dead, in this context, were not ancestors in heaven with power to help but ancestors underground with power to harm may explain as well the increasing concern to create for them a new home and to ensure, by various means such as "spirit artifacts" and exorcism, their separation from the living. The changed status of the dead also explains, suggests Cook, why the elite "moved away from ancestor gods to search for immortality or sagehood," that is, how rationalization took the form, in elite individuals, of a process of interiorization particularly visible in the self-cultivation and philosophical texts.
The chapter by Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann on a series of texts and to 111, symbolic diagrams, that, from the 4th century BC into the early Han, sought to produce "orderly and hierarchically structured schematic representations of the world" reveals the same process of rationalization and unification at work in the development of a new administrative vision of "China:' The most famous of the texts, the "Yugong" Art ("Tribute of Yu") chapter of the Book of documents and the Shanhai jing [lag (Classic of mountains and seas), are directly linked to the myth of Yu. But if the latter creates a series of "itineraries" in which sacrifices to the gods play a central role, the "Tribute of Yu" is "a purely administrative tour" that, by following Yu on his travels through the respective provinces to drain them of their overflowing waters, recreates the Chinese world as a magic square of 3 x 3 = Nine Provinces, that is, a territory that, while divided, remains an organic whole: a sacred space owing nothing to kinship and (virtually) everything to abstract, administrative rationality. The absence of the gods in the recently discovered 4th century BC Rong Cheng shi manuscript, in many ways parallel to the "Tribute of Yu:' would seem to indicate that this purely administrative view is a product of the Warring States.
The chapter by Jean Levi attempts an overarching religious explanation of the manner in which these multifarious Warring States changes occurred. He begins his account with the "archaic system" of the Zhou, which he summarizes as "the politico-cosmic structuring of society by means of sacrifice." He shows concretely what he means by an analysis of the sacrifice to Heaven and the "cascade of leftovers": two red bulls were prepared for the sacrifice, one for Heaven and the second for the divine ancestor of the Zhou, Houji. The bull for Heaven was shot by the king, its blood presented as an offering and then the whole bull burned. The second bull, on the contrary, was cooked and then served to ever-widening circles, with each successive group eating the meat left over by the preceding, hierarchically superior group. To be a "meat-eater" (roushizhe) thus meant having a fixed placed in the sacrificial and kinship hierarchy—only kin could worship the common ancestor and, therefore, rule over a territory—and it meant being obliged to those above one, the source of one's meat. That in such a shared ritual culture the ancestors were "really present" we can imagine from the tale in the Zuo commentary related by Constance Cook, in which the lord of Jin falls ill after watching the ancestral sacrifice (di) in the state of Song: "Participation in another's di sacrifice could be dangerous; the dancing invoked powerful spiritual influences:' It was this perfect system whose "rites were in decay and music in collapse" in the Eastern Zhou.
The collapse of this system was the inevitable result of the disintegration of the Zhou polity, in which power was based on kinship and the worship of the common ancestor provided the religious linchpin of society. But the very perfection and coherence of the system most certainly explains why, in the period of transition to the bureaucratic empire, so many thinkers sought to extract from the system its ethical, aesthetic and intellectual principles in order to create a system suitable to the new environment. We have already alluded to this in our introduction of the chapters on self-cultivation. Yuri Pines has elsewhere drawn attention to the development of philosophical reflection on ritual in the Zuo commentary.' Reading together here the chapters by Pines and Martin Kern suggests how the centuries-long practice of ritua commemoration of ancestors evolved into Chinese historiography.
But perhaps the most critical transformation is that rendered possible by the differentiation between the two bulls. By distinguishing Heaven from the Ancestor and his "communion" meat, the sacrifice to Heaven revealed itself to be at once the source of all leftovers and the recipient of none: it was outside the system and transcendent, in exactly the same manner the Dao would be in imperial China. The tight link, in the Zhou system, between "qualitative and hierarchical structuring of space around centers of sacrifice," and the collapse of that system and the subsequent "departmentalization of territory" would require a "new religious organization corresponding to a more abstract space and time." Through an innovative reading of two 3rd-century BC texts, Levi shows how "the word Dao refers to absolute generality that is infinite extensiveness
Even though each of the ten thousand beings obeys its own norm, the Dao shows no partiality. That is why it cannot be defined. Being without definition, it does nothing and, without doing anything, there is nothing that is not done. That is what is involved in the system of administrative circumscriptions ... A world in miniature and a miniaturization of the world, the state administration tended to apply to society the same abstract and objective laws, from which all human arbitrariness had been eliminated, as those which governed the motion of the planets and the alternation of the seasons.
"The rite, the norm and the Dao" in the title to Levi's chapter refers to the Confucian, Legalist and Daoist traditions. What he shows is how these radically different sensibilities and programs, in conflict during the Warring States, are melded at the end of the period into a unitary vision in which "the functioning of the state is linked to the spontaneous course of the world." The myth of the Yellow Emperor, already evoked by Mark Lewis, is one expression of "the exaltation of the Whole, a metaphysical projection of the unified and centralized empire under construction, inextricably linked to the affirmation of the preeminence of the center over the periphery" Described as having four faces and being the "unique man," the Yellow Emperor embodies sovereignty over space-time by virtue of his occupation of the center, that is, his "domination of the four directions from a strategic point which does not belong to ordinary space": like Heaven in the archaic sacrificial system and Dao in the new philosophical system, the center is transcendent.
Similarly, the Son of Heaven in this new system is like the man of the Dao in the Zhuangzian story recounted above: he must be careful never to display to others anything but the polished mirror of the unconditioned ...He then leaves the universe of the senses for the transcendence of being. He is self-effaced in non being, vanishes into an unfathomable void, fuses with the Principle which gives shape to all shapes. In a word, he achieves the transcendence of the Dao. Emanation of the cosmic law, he strips himself of all definition.
Foundations of Confucian Thought: Intellectual Life in the Chunqiu Period, 722-453 B.C.E by Yuri Pines (722-453 BCE) (Honolulu, 2002). This ambitious work focuses on the world of Chinese thought during the Chunqiu (Springs and Autumns) period (722-451 B.C.E.), the two and a half centuries directly preceding and partly overlapping the time of Confucius, China's single most influential thinker. Ideas developed by Chunqiu statesmen and thinkers formed the intellectual milieu of Confucius and his disciples and contributed directly to the intellectual flowering of the Zhanguo (Warring States) era (453-221 B.C.E.), the formative period of the Chinese intellectual tradition. This study is the first attempt to systematically reconstruct major intellectual trends in pre-Confucian China.
Foundations of Confucian Thought is based on an
exploration of the Zuo zhuan, the largest pre-imperial
historical text. Relying on meticulous textual and linguistic
analysis, Yuri Pines argues that hundreds of the speeches of Chunqiu
statesmen recorded in the Zho zhuan were not invented by the
compiler of the treatise but reproduced from earlier sources, thus
making it an authentic reflection of the Chunqiu intellectual
tradition. By tracing changes in ideas and concepts throughout the
Chunqiu period, Pines reconstructs the dynamics of contemporary
political and ethical discourse, distilling major intellectual
impulses that Chunqiu thinkers bequeathed to their Zhanguo
Qin and Han (221 BC-220 AD)
Michael Puett presents three collections of ritual texts that purport to be—and to some degree are—from the Zhou era, but which, as collections, date to the Han. As such, they are in the first place testimony to the intellectual meaning of empire: imperially sponsored sifting through and editing of approved—in this case, ritual—texts. In terms of content, they also show the continuing importance attached to ritual as a form of self-cultivation and a source of social order: "Of all the ways of ordering humans, none are more urgent than the rites," says the Book of rites, the one of the three that came to be counted among the Five Classics. The same text explains the difference between worship of the dead at the tomb and in the ancestral temple in terms of the different components—"material" and "spiritual"—of the person. It is the spiritqi which, "now lacking the corpse, ascends to the heavens" to become "radiant brightness:' from whence it is summoned for regular sacrifices in the temple. The Rites of Zhou begins each of its six sections with the affirmation, "It is the king who establishes the state." Both texts played major roles in the court debates at the end of the Western Han to be mentioned below. The Yili (Rites and ceremonies), third of the Sanli Ed ("three ritual texts") which Zheng Xuan (127-200) is the first to have considered together as forming a coherent system of ritual, was, according to Michael Nylan's chapter, "the single Rites classic (Lijing ) for most of Han."
Nylan's account of classical learning ( jingxue WW) in the Han aims to undo the traditional narrative which made of Confucianism a kind of national religion based on the Five Classics and the thought of Dong Zhongshu (trad. 176-104 BC) starting under Wudi (r. 140-87 BC). While she does acknowledge that during Wudi's reign the Ru began to advise the emperor on critical matters of state—in particular, ritual centers like the Hall of Light and the ng, shan and suburban sacrifices—the Five Classics were not even constituted as a fixed group of texts in the Western Han, let alone the foundation of a state orthodoxy. Ru-classicists—not necessarily "Confucians"—did play a major role in a court conference in 51 BC on the relative merits of interpretive traditions of the classics and in court debates over religion in 31 BC, but these Ru achievements "were partly due to the success with which the Ru portrayed themselves as diviners of portents and prodigies," Only gradually, over the entire four-century span of the Han, did "text-based skills—specifically the ability to recite, read, cite, explicate and compare and correlate the jing (classics)—assume an ever larger part in defining the Ru classicist."
At the beginning of the Eastern Han, Yang Xiong Mg (53 BC-18 AD) played a vital role as promoter of a return to the teachings of Confucius in the Analects and of Five Classics learning. He insisted, first of all, that the purpose of study of the Five Classics is the learning of ethical values that alone provides "true independence": "By contrast, the rival jing are objectively inferior, being both less versatile in application than the Five Classics and less suited to the all-important tasks of governing the self and governing others:' For Yang, the ultimate goal was the recovery of the Zhou system of rites and music. This goal was consistent with his "demonization" of the Qin, "really a covert critique of mid-Western Han," that is, of Wudi's centralization of power. After the Wang Mang interregnum, the much weaker Eastern Han found in the apocryphal texts (chenwei NO) the idea that the "uncrowned king"—Confucius—had predicted the rise of the Han and asserted the divine right of the Liu family to reign: "This legitimation supposedly offered by Confucius ... had the Eastern Han trace its line to a sharp break with Qin traditions and the Ru's concomitant rise to power under Wudi." This is the Confucius that Mark Lewis refers to in his chapter as "the most important mythic figure of all, prototype of the worthy scholar who fails to find a worthy ruler to employ him." But if "attempts to synthesize Five Classics learning dominated many court-sponsored activities and private initiatives" in the Eastern Han, Nylan sees no evidence for the triumph of what used to be called "Han rationalism:' Rather, "the old Ru preoccupation with ritual practice never abated:
Marianne Bujard's account of state religion also shows far greater continuity between Qin and Han than the traditional, "demonizing" narrative allowed. At the outset, the Han simply took over the Qin system, which involved sacrifices to hundreds of territorial gods throughout the empire, as well as supreme sacrifices in the ancient Qin capital of Yong. The Han are simply said, for cosmological reasons, to have added a fifth Lord on High (Shangdi) to the four the Qin already worshiped in Yong, placing the Yellow Emperor in the center. The First Emperor of the Qin was also the first to perform the feng and shan sacrifices which, for him as in 110 BC for Wudi, involved not just a claim of legitimacy addressed to Heaven and Earth but also prayers for personal immortality. The greatest innovation under Wudi, the worship of Taiyi (Great One) done for the first time in 113 BC, was introduced at court by rivals of the , the fangshi 1, or "masters of techniques:' including those for attaining immortality. In this new supreme cult, the Yellow Emperor was shifted to the southwest, corresponding to the "middle" of the year, and Taiyi took his place in the center. As already mentioned, the Ru were very much involved in the debates under Wudi about these ritual innovations, seeking to convert the Taiyi sacrifice into one to Heaven, the emperor's "father," and thereby to make of it a kind of ancestor worship. But they lost out to the fangshi and did not gain the upper hand until Wang Mang, who addressed the now suburban sacrifice to Huangtian Shangdi Taiyi 4)K I. Great One, Lord on High of Brilliant Heaven. Performed next in the year 25 AD by Emperor Guangwu, the founder of the Eastern Han, it became the central sacrifice of empire right down to 1914. The altar used by Guangwu was that first designed for the worship of Taiyi in 113 BC.
Led by the prime minister Kuang Heng and relying on arguments taken from the Book of rites, the Ru were also involved in the court debates of 31 BC that led to a (very temporary) reduction in the number of state-sponsored sites of worship from 683 to 208. The Ru sought also to reduce the number of ancestor temples built in memory of the various emperors, as by the time of Yuandi (r. 49-33) there were no fewer than 176 such temples. The Ru succeeded as well in getting Wang Mang to build a Hall of Light in 4 AD, and sacrifices were continued there until the hall was destroyed in the year 219. In Bujard's view, because these various reforms were all seen as based on the classics, the status of the classics was thenceforth intimately linked to political legitimacy.
Yuri Pines concludes his discussion of the Zuo commentary by comparing it with its great rival, the Gongyang commentary For Pines, what the Zuo had desacralized the Gongyang resacralized by treating it as a text authored by Confucius: "The Gongyang authors go to great lengths to preserve the integrity and infallibility of the text upon which they comment." Pines sees this as the expression of "a unified world ruled by a powerful Son of Heaven," that is, the empire. In his chapter on the yang commentary, Joachim Gentz likewise begins by discussing the religious origins of what he says was the single most important classic in early Han. But he then goes on to link the compilers' methods with the rational attitudes and religious skepticism derived from the teachings of Confucius and his disciples. As he points out, "its emphasis is on human control of the process of rational interpretation, not on divinatory reading," and it was in fact "a further step away from anthropomorphic religion." This "step away" refers to its introduction of new religious concepts such as Heaven, original qi and systems of cosmological correspondences ... [which] have nothing in common with the earlier personified concepts of Heaven, ghosts and ancestors who dominated human affairs through their personal will.
As it is precisely these elements of Han religion that have traditionally been referred to as Han "rationalism," Gentz' observations are of the utmost importance to our understanding of how imperial religion, building on the Warring States changes, was in fact utterly different from the kinship-based system of the Zhou. The bureaucratic empire simply could not be built on ancestor worship, not even of the "purely symbolic" kind the Ru sought to impose on the Son of Heaven: it required worship of an abstract, impersonal and universal kind that only the new qi-based cosmology and calendrical astrology could provide. It is this radical and ongoing transformation of state religion in the Han that explains why, as Fu-shih Lin shows, the wu, who still enjoyed official positions under the chamberlain for ceremonials in the Western Han, were in the Eastern Han shifted into the domestic treasury, "in charge of the small sacrificial rites of the palace": the old, anthropomorphic religion was dead.
Well, almost. It was dead on the level of the state, but it was thriving on the local level, as both Bujard and Lewis show in their surveys of local cults. Among the most interesting of these local cults are those to immortals such as Wangzi Qiao T whose devotees are described as singing hymns to Taiyi and meditating on the viscera, that is, engaging in self-cultivation practices that link them to the worship of the same high god as was worshiped by Emperor Wu. A stele to the Lord of the White Stone, dated 183 AD, reveals a group of libationers (jijiu)-a term used for priests in the Heavenly Master movement that was at that time in its infancy—together with local officials getting involved in efforts to win official recognition for their local cult. Just as in the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD), the court ordered an inquiry, which then engendered a new report, and so on, till the local cult was either accepted for registry among state-recognized and supported sacrifices or rejected. Such information, of which we have precious little, lifts a corner of the veil on the religious aspects of the center-local relationship and suggests, here, a continuity going back at least to the Warring States as seen in the early chapters of the Classic of mountains and seas and continuing right to the end of the imperial period. Lewis, who also details the emergence of local cults to sage kings such as Yu, summarizes his account of local mythology as follows:
It is not surprising that immortals and hermits, both associated with the mountains and wild areas just beyond the city and clearly distinguished from the state-sponsored exemplars on the sacrificial registers, became local benefactors and the deities of cults devoted exclusively to the wellbeing of a specific town or small region. In the stories, the recurring theme of tensions with kings and high officials likewise expresses the particularist, local nature of many of these cults.
Insofar as local cults were integrated into the register of sacrifices, they also constituted a part of the cost of the state sacrificial system, and it is this aspect that Roel Sterckx examines in his chapter. He notes that, in the Han ritual canon of the Three rites, a religious culture is unveiled in which sacrificial goods are quantified in terms of tribute or conscript labor, a society where status was defined in terms of ritual expenditure and where piety to the spirit world was translated into a detailed complex of material symbolism ranging from the measurement and value of ritual jades to the color and flavor associated with the cuisine offered up to the spirit world and shared in ritual banquets.
In other words, in the Han, insofar as ideal ritual culture came to be thought of in terms derived from what were in fact Zhou texts, it was a ritual culture based on a gift as opposed to a market economy. This corresponds, of course, to what Levi writes of the creation of obligation through the distribution of the sacrificial leftovers. But it was in contradiction with many of the economic changes that had occurred in the Warring States and continued into the Han. Thus when the Guanzi speaks of "establishing sacrifices to restrict entrance to mountains and marshes:' Sterckx reads this as "turning mountains rich in ores and wood into sacred sites and so tabooing access to them for ordinary people that this led to considerable tension over the status of merchants—a matter discussed by Fu-shih Lin because some wu came under Wang Mang to be classified for tax purposes with merchants and shopkeepers—may be seen in the Yantie lun (Discussions on salt and iron), a Western Han text that complains the wealthy were using singers and actors to usurp the sacrifices to the mountains and streams, turning people aside from the fundamentals of agriculture. The Discussions, which recounts the court debate of 81 BC over the establishment of state monopolies in salt and iron, reveals a fundamental contradiction between the emerging state market economy and its theoretical ritual framework.
But let us look also at the question of the religious economy simply in terms of the cost to the state, for this was at the heart of the drive in 31 BC to reduce the number of sites of worship and "return to classical simplicity." Beginning in the Shang, the state had at its disposal a veritable armada of specialists engaged in divination and sacrifice, and they clearly mobilized considerable amounts of wealth. An early Zhou oracle bone asks, "Shall we sacrifice one hundred Qiang people (a nomadic enemy tribe) and one hundred sets of sheep and pigs to [High King] Tang, Great Ancestors Jia and Ding, and Grandfather Yi?"6 Sterckx cites an example in which the state of Lu was forced by the state of Wu to supply it with 100 sets of sacrificial victims. He also quotes the Book of rites to the effect that goods for the service of the spirits were part of taxes, and one-tenth of the produce of all land was to be set aside for the sacrifices. In the Rites of Zhou, the centrality of the sacrificial economy emerges in the task descriptions of the main office in the department of Heaven, the grand steward (dazai) Sacrifices rank first among the statutes he implements in towns and dependencies assigned to dukes, ministers and grandees. Furthermore sacrifices are the first among measurements used to determine the state's expenses, and sacrificial provisions rank first among nine types of tributary goods to be collected by the feudal state.
Sumptuary expenses on funerals and graves was a social and economic reality that occasioned considerable contention among the different currents of thought. While Mozi T- called for simplicity in funerals and mocked the rival Ru as funeral specialists primarily attracted by the food they could eat while performing, Guanzi thought lavish funerals were good for the economy. Starting in the Warring States era, lists of grave goods were meticulously compiled and inserted in the grave. "Spirit artifacts" came to be mass produced: according to Sterckx, a kiln near Chang'an could fire 8000 items at once.
In the Western Han, several hundred households were in charge of shrines and sacred peaks, and thousands of the imperial tombs. Twelve years prior to Wudi's feng and Shan sacrifices, all towns around the mountain and the mountain itself were presented to the throne by the local king, who received a whole district in compensation. When in 110 BC auspicious omens were reported on the Central Peak, 300 households were set aside to furnish the wherewithal for the sacrifices to the god of the mountain:
As is clear from the above, the organization and management of the religious economy was a task handled by an elaborate system of bureaucrats and government offices specially dedicated to the task. There existed no clearly articulated division between ritual tasks and other labor in early China.
The last four chapters and the last part of Mu-chou Poo's chapter have in common that they deal not with state religion but with religion as practiced at the various levels of society. The question, of course, is, which levels? Do the "daybooks" (rishu H ) discovered in such numbers in Qin and early Han tombs represent a religion common to all, or should we speak of an "elite common religion"? Mu-chou Poo and Liu Tseng-kuei draw heavily on these new sources, and both authors agree that they are, to cite Liu's conclusion, "the complex product of popular belief and the theory of interaction between heaven and humans" That is, they very clearly belong to their times, when widely shared—and inevitably elite—theories of the mutual influence (ganying ) of humans and nature required of people that they adapt their behavior to the natural cycles of seasons and months, but also ensured that, without the help of any religious specialists, people could have a very real impact on their fate. Liu therefore concludes that "people needed only to master its rules in order to enjoy space to act and to choose whether to go toward or to avoid. They could even use methods that converted the inauspicious into the auspicious." Poo ends on a very similar note: "What this entails is the assumption that certain material objects and bodily postures and actions possess an innate power, as though they are a part of the world order that need only be appropriated and utilized by human beings:' As texts which "empower" human beings to deal with the unknown and the potentially dangerous; it does not seem excessive to apply to them the term "humanistic:'
The readers of Poo and Liu will discover the extraordinary anthropological wealth of the daybooks and related source materials. What we should like to underline here is the links between these chapters and those on mythology, shamanism, medicine and tombs. Yu appears frequently in the daybooks as a model: to be imitated by travellers and avoided by those about to marry. The Red Emperor (Lord), who is probably identical to the Fiery Emperor mentioned by Lewis and Kalinowski, is a god in charge of punishment, so on days when he approaches"--descends to earth—people should stay home and avoid purposeful activities. Seven days before the annual sacrifice to all gods in the eighth month, people should not visit families who were in mourning or where a child had just been born. There were taboos on pronouncing the word "death" or "to die," and graves were called "homes for ten thousand years:' Avoidance of the death date and name of the deceased were already generalized, and this at once ensured the divine status of the dead and kept them at a distance: "The living belong to Chang'an, the dead to Taishan." Days to avoid planting are the death days of such gods as those of the fields and the master of rain. Shamanizing cannot be done on the five chou days because on them the Lord of Heaven (Tiandi ) killed the divine shaman Wuxian. Being the height of yang 1%, which was poisonous—Li Jianmin cites Wang Chong to the effect that ghosts (gui) are yangqi, yang energies, and notes that many diseases were related to heat—the fifth month was a bad month, with many taboos: against giving birth, roofing a house or taking office. The fifth day of that month was the most dangerous of all, an occasion for Nuo exorcisms. After examining other festivals, Liu concludes as follows:
It would seem, then, that, contrary to the popular image, Han festivals were not at all about carnival-like joy for a good year. Seen through the lens of the taboos, it was about being careful to the utmost lest one commit a fault. Festivals were times of crisis, and the taboos were rules for getting through the narrows. Not only did people worship the gods with sacrifices at this time, they often avoided disaster by not going outdoors and did their best not to disturb the yin, yang and five agent energies. This is reminiscent of the way the Han handled natural catastrophes. For example, on the two solstices, officials did not handle public work and military movements were halted.
This, too, is what has traditionally been referred to as "Han rationalism. The discovery of tens of thousands of Qin and Han tombs and the painstaking work of archaeologists on these tombs has contributed substantially to our understanding of the importance of the funerary culture of the early empires. As Michele Pirazzoli-t'Serstevens puts it, "We may say that the tombs, their decor and their furnishings together constitute a compendium of the cosmological beliefs, the conceptions and the rites linked to death, but also of the myths, divinities and demons that peopled the Han imaginary world:' Like the study of political institutions, that of funerary culture identifies the last century of Western Han as a major turning point, with the appearance of the custom of burying husband and wife in the same tomb and the emergence of the house-tomb—purely symbolic until the 2nd century BC—as the universal mode of sepulture. What the latter implied in religious terms was the primacy of tomb over ancestral temple and of the individual over the clan: what more telling illustration could be found of the dramatic changes that had occurred in Chinese society?—the collapse of Zhou rites and music gave way not just to a bureaucratic empire ruled by a mystified Son of Heaven, but also to a world of individuals whose memory could be perpetuated as had been, in the past, that of founder ancestors like Houji or sage kings like Yu. This is, therefore, the time to refer to the invention of the biography by Sima Qian q,1%4 (ca. 145-90 BC) which, according to Yuri Pines, "epitomizes a change of mentality from the lineage-oriented to an individual-oriented notion of continuity and immortality." To Sima Qian, who in his autobiography compares himself to Confucius, it was also about the righting of injustice: the historian, by his judgments, could reverse the injustices of history. In sum, the new literary genre conjoined concerns about justice and immortality, ethics and "survival:'
The historian's cult of immortality, if to some degree rooted in the same world of self-cultivation as that of the more explicitly religious immortals, was also quite clearly the tardy offspring of the culture of memory described by Martin Kern for the Western Zhou. The oldest representations of religious immortals occur in the tombs of Mawangdui, where they are pictured in swirling clouds that represent qi. Their iconography has matured by the end of the Western Han, when they are typically shown riding a dragon, with wings and big ears, surrounded by clouds and fantastic animals. They also appear on mirrors whose inscriptions describe them as "roaming through the empire and wandering among the four seas:' In the 2nd century AD, they appear with ngmu and Dongwanggong Xiwangmu is well known from texts of the 2nd century BC as the goddess of the paradisiac Mount Kunlun AA- in the distant west. In his chapter on religious mass movements in the Eastern Han, Gregoire Espesset recalls the earliest known such movement, in 3 BC, when people set out en masse from Shandong to go to the Western paradise of Xiwangmu. In tomb decorations, she appears first in tombs in Henan right around the beginning of our era. From there, her image gradually diffuses, reaching its heyday in the 2nd century, when she is shown from the front, majestic and seated on a mountain, sometimes with immortals and the gates of paradise to either side.
The impact of cosmological notions becomes clear in tombs of the Eastern Han. The tumulus covering imperial tombs, for example, went from rectangular (earth) in the Western to round (heaven) in the Eastern Han. What Pirazzoli calls a "cosmological program" takes over the tombs of the metropolitan region from 50 BC on, and the tomb becomes a kind of cosmic mandala, surrounded and protected by the heraldic animals of the four directions. Celestial symbols such as the sun and moon, in swirling qi, appear on the ceiling from the end of the Western Han. But stars give way in the 2nd century AD to heavenly deities and auspicious signs, with an increase in anthropomorphic gods: personified representations of the gods of thunder and lightning, wind and rain, who also had a place on the altar of the Eastern Han imperial sacrifice to Heaven, no doubt in tablet form, however. All depend on the Lord of Heaven (Tiandi), whose messengers they are. Like Taiyi in the Han, this Lord of Heaven is linked to the Big Dipper, which on occasion serves as his chariot. The prevalence of Xiwangmu (west) in the company of her rather unimpressive "mate," Dongwanggong (east), in 2nd century AD tombs is likewise a reflection of the rising impact of cosmological thinking.
The Eastern Han is also marked by the generalization of the catacomb-tomb, a structure made of small bricks or stone which could be reopened either to bury another person or to conduct regular worship. This may be partly responsible for the exorcistic texts called xiaochuwen that appear in a limited number of tombs in Shaanxi and Henan in the years 92-190 AD, with the peak occurring 156-90. They refer to the need to prevent the living from being "contaminated" (zhu) by the dead, and to the exorcist as the "messenger of the Lord of Heaven" (tiandi shizhe). The hun-souls A are said to go to Liangfu, near Taishan, which becomes the capital of the dead, while the po-souls go either to the Yellow Springs or to Haolishan, at the foot of Taishan. Together with the paradise of Xiwangmu, suggests Pirazzoli, these texts "express the eschatological preoccupations of the period and, more generally, the religious anxiety that characterized the 'disordered landscape' of north and central China at the end of the Han.
Another feature of this period is the spread throughout China of the commemorative stele described by K.E. Brashier. Such steles "tied the dedicatee's particular identity into an existing web of cultural symbols ... where ancestral cult and public memory overlap:' While this mode of recording was perceived by its users as related to the bronze inscriptions of high antiquity, it in fact confirms what we have already observed about the culture of memory in the Western Han biographies. But again there was a difference: the steles were not about righting injustice but about holding up "a model for the age, a pattern for officials:' As such, they cannot be separated from the Eastern Han recommendation category "filial and incorrupt" (xiaolian) as a means to acquire office and what Pirazzoli refers to as the "institutionalization of filial piety" at the end of the Han. One of the more interesting features of these steles is the genealogies they contain, which usually mention a distant first ancestor, then jump to ego's near ascendants: "Such a division of ancestors seems parallel to the ancestral cult ideal in which a distant clan progenitor was worshipped at the head of the hall whereas the more recent ascendants were represented on either side:' Common elements in the biographies—a great Heaven-conferred disposition, mastery of a classical text, recommendation as "filial and incorrupt," and withdrawal from office to mourn parents—reveal the degree to which Confucian values had come to dominate elite discourse and, no doubt, practice. The stele for a woman emphasizes her being the mother of a lineage and her "ritual service for more than 30 years. All three steles studied by Brashier compare their subjects to figures of the classical past: the Duke of Zhou, the dynastic mothers of Shang and Zhou and Yan Hui.
In his survey of Eastern Han mass religious movements, including that of the Heavenly Masters destined to become the core of religious Daoism, Gregoire Espesset proposes the following hypothesis:
There must be a connection between such phenomena as the "ethicization" of the religion of the elite and the massive expansion of popular religious activities on the one hand, and the strengthening of a body of canonical learning and the emergence of alternative forms of knowledge on the other.
By "alternative forms of knowledge" Espesset means the so-called chen-wei "weft" or "apocryphal" texts, but also the sudden appearance of revealed texts like the Taiping jing ),4g (Scripture of Great Peace). A first example of these links is the rebels of the Yellow Turban revolt of 184 AD who "liken the Dao of their leader to the Great One of central yellow (Zhonghuang)"—a clear indication of the degree to which a popular mass movement had incorporated elements we have encountered in the context of elite religion and thought: Taiyi and the yellow center. Referring to the stele inscription which mentions visualization of adepts, Espesset links it to an Annals weft text which "regards the Great One as 'the seat of the Heavenly Emperor of the North Pole, that is, another central and pivotal location. In addition, the fragment states that Taiyi's radiance contains 'primordial pneuma:"
In short, beginning with the movement involving Xiwangmu in 3 BC, these new religious forms are in no way resurgences of local cults to anthropomorphic gods. They are thoroughly "modern" movements, rooted in now centuries-old self-cultivation practices and contemporary cosmology and speculation. They are at once reflections of a bureaucratic empire in which clan solidarity and ancestor worship had at least in part given way to the worship of immortals and sage kings and of the "eschatological preoccupations" generated by the gradual disintegration of the empire in the 2nd century AD. Nowhere is all this clearer than in the Scripture of Great Peace: "In the weft fragments, Great Peace is a positive characteristic of an idealized early Zhou dynasty?' Given the wide variety of such groups, Espesset prefers to avoid speaking of them as "Daoist,' but "all had bureaucratic, imperial institution-influenced organizations and vocabulary."
If we have placed Li Jianmin's chapter at the end of these volumes, it is because his examination of 2nd century AD changes in medical theory leads him naturally to look beyond the collapse of the Han in 220 AD and into the Period of Disunion. Li notes that the Shennong bencao jing (Materia medica of the Divine Farmer), "from around the Eastern Han period integrated the theory of qi, centered on wind, with the theory of demonic haunting?' No fewer than 50 substances in this Materia medica have to do with such haunting (sui W):
Particularly noteworthy is the fact that diseases of demonic haunting like ghost infixation (guizhu) are most common... Ghost infixation is a disease that was passed on from a dead person to a living person through contagion by hidden corpse qi, in severe cases to the point of killing off entire households.
Li then looks at the Scripture of Great Peace, with its notion of "inherited burden" (chengfu), according to which "unceasing disease was the result of sins committed by the ancestors?' For Li, these are notions characteristic of the late Eastern Han that reflected a social order once again in decay. Already in a Warring States manuscript, a dead soldier entreats the lord of the underworld Wuyi to allow him to go home to receive his family's sacrificial offerings, and a 239 BC manuscript asks a divine director of destiny to allow a dead person to return from death. But these early glimpses into the spiritual underworld nowhere suggest that the sins of the ancestors could be passed on to future generations. The Han-era Neijing Ng (Classic of internal medicine) contains no infixation or corpse disease, but a Sui (589-617) text contains 99 different kinds of such disease! In between, Tao Hongjing (456-536 AD) distinguishes it as an "internal disease" caused by "outside perversities" —ghosts—quite different from "externally arising diseases" caused by wind or cold.
These disparate facts inspire the following thoughts: First, the traditions of moral introspection that had been developed in the self-cultivation texts had provided an opening for a sense of guilt. Second, the ancestors had become individualized along with the rest of society in the Warring States. Third, ancestors were no longer the charismatic founders of states, they were the recently dead of local families. But what the ancestors had lost in political they had gained in psychological power because, the process of interiorization continuing to do its work, it had led to the discovery of the self as a place where ancestral dramas also continued to play themselves out to their inevitable conclusions: justice in the form of retribution (bao) was inevitable. Finally, as we saw above, the discovery of the individual cannot be separated from that of the collectivity: mass peasant armies and warfare; vast, abstract territorial units and their populations; mass religious movements. But the basic social fact of Chinese society remained the family and the clan, and this had been mightily encouraged by the ethics of filial piety and its repeated expression in steles, biographies and the metaphor and attendant rites of the Son of Heaven. Thus when, once again, "the rites were in decay and music in collapse," it took the form of a fixation on death, graves and dead ancestors:
People's fear of death was such that they needed only to encounter it for the disease to break out. All five types of infixation disease listed above were complicated, persistent and incurable. Once they had broken out, new outbreaks would occur whenever the patient suffering from the disease attended a funeral, saw or touched a coffin or corpse or even just smelled corpse .. The art of delivery from infixation, fundamentally different from acumoxa and medicinal therapy, consisted in presenting petitions to confess one's own and one's ancestors' sins... (Infixation disease) was all the more threatening to people because the family was at its core, and the disease attacked and spread within the household.
Thus did religious and social change manifest itself as well in changing medical theory.
In conclusion, we would like to evoke quickly two things: first, the nature of the advances on previous accounts that the essays published here collectively represent; second, the differences of perspective that the various essays embody.
Past accounts of early Chinese religion have tended to present ancestor worship as central and to have linked this to accounts of modern Chinese religion from anthropological sources. Many of the chapters here, but especially those of Eno, Kern, Cook, Levi and Li enable us to give a nuanced historical gradation to this account and, above all, to see early Chinese ancestor worship for what it was: an expression of political power and legitimacy that was by definition sumptuary and therefore emphatically not an integral part of some kind of universal, unchanging Chinese religion. The gradual recovery of the constantly evolving historical record—both through new materials and through new ways of reading the old materials—enables us to see why the Book of rites declared, famously, that "the rites do not go down to the people." The rites of ancestral sacrifice will not go legally down to the people until the mid-Ming!
If for the Western Zhou we have virtually no sources for anything other than ancestor worship, and if for the Shang the sources provide glimpses of a complex array of non ancestor gods for only one reign, that of Wu-ding, Kominami reminds us that the worship of the earth god existed already in the Shang as well, and Cook shows how this worship developed at the end of the Zhou. The Zhouli (Rites of Zhou) gives classic expression to the relationship between the ancestral temple (miao) and the earth god altar (tan if) in state religion by placing them respectively to the left (east, yang, rising sun: lineage continuity and life) and right (west, yin, setting sun: war and death) of the palace, as institutions representative of the civil and military components of the state. It is these complementary institutions which may be shown to have survived and remained fundamental to the practice of religion in China, even on the village level and right down to the recent past. They may also be contrasted as expressions of time as lineage verticality and of space as territorial horizontality.9 Together, they provide concrete and practical ways of thinking about space and time in Chinese terms that are at once social and historical.
[See Emperor and Ancestor: State and Lineage in South China by David Faure (Stanford, 2007)] summarizes twenty years of the author's work in historical anthropology and documents his argument that in China, ritual provided the social glue that law provided in the West. The book offers a readable history of the special lineage institutions for which south China has been noted and argues that these institutions fostered the mechanisms that enabled south China to be absorbed into the imperial Chinese state--first, by introducing rituals that were acceptable to the state, and second, by providing mechanisms that made group ownership of property feasible and hence made it possible to pool capital for land reclamation projects important to the state. Just as taxation, defense, and recognition came together with the emergence of powerful lineages in the sixteenth century, their disintegration in the late nineteenth century signaled the beginnings of a new Chinese state.
The third point worth underlining is the notion of "religion" itself that this book, with its multiplicity of disciplinary approaches, assumes, namely, that religion is more about the structuring values and practices of a given society than about the beliefs of individuals. The place allotted the individual is in any case of necessity small for the early period of Chinese history, for want of sources. Here, it is only in the chapters of Graziani and Csikszentmihàlyi on self-cultivation that, timidly, the individual practitioner appears—and we learn that the aim of such individual practice is to interiorize traditional ritual attitudes or to become a sovereign subject in union with an impersonal Dao. But most of the chapters in these volumes are about religion as a social and political force, organizing the state and social memory by means of ritual practices and in accord with changing values. In such a resolutely anthropological perspective, the taboos studied by Liu Tseng-kuei and clearly practiced by a wide range of people over centuries are every bit as interesting as the restless search of Han emperors for an appropriate form of supreme sacrifice.
Fourth, by organizing these volumes as part of a larger project that stretches from the first written records in ca. 1250 BC down to the reunification of the empire in 589 AD, we have committed ourselves to standing back from the detail in order to see the patterns of long-term change. We have already mentioned how Li Jianmin's article points toward the disjointed future that will be the subject of the next two volumes. This reminds us that the larger project is less about some stable system we might call "early Chinese religion" than it is about the periodic collapse of such systems and how, from the disassembled fragments of the old something radically new is laboriously constructed, thus providing a social and psychological foundation for the next phase of political integration. In the pages above, we have isolated rationalization and interiorization as the two fundamental strategies of the practice of reconstruction. We apply them here to our analysis of the central period of historical change covered by these volumes: the Warring States. The two volumes to come will apply them to the next period of political disarray, the Six Dynasties.
Finally, a word needs to be said about differences in method and perspectives. Two basic approaches that some consider incompatible are present in the essays published here: the historical/material and the anthropological/ideational. The most determinedly historical/material approaches are quite logically those of the archaeologists, for the discipline of archaeology consists in constant training in patience, in not rushing to judgment, in trying to let new materials speak for themselves as much as possible rather than forcing them into a pre-existent theory. Given the ever-growing impact of archaeology on the field of ancient China studies, it should hardly come as a surprise that this same prudential attitude often characterizes essays that use the new manuscript materials. It is to this necessary prudence that we have spoken above in our methodological introduction. On the other end of the scale are chapters by authors like Kominami and Levi: the first makes use of a traditional philological approach that reads texts of widely different periods as part of a single "book"; the second makes use of recent anthropologically inspired studies of sacrifice in ancient Greece to read texts such as the Rites of Zhou that all agree are late idealizations but that Levi parses anew in order to find his sociological way back into the heart of early Zhou ancestral sacrifice. Whether or not the audacious conclusions of these two authors win widespread acceptance, there can be no doubt but that their ideas merit the debates they will inevitably occasion.
A second major fault line that runs through the chapters in these two volumes is that between those who, at one level or another, continue to subscribe to a more or less traditional notion of pre-imperial schools of thought and those who have set out quite determinedly to deconstruct this idea as a projection of Western Han views onto the pre-imperial record.° If we have sought out contributions from representatives of both approaches, it is because we believe their very incompatibility will serve as a salutary reminder to all readers that, in the human sciences, we are always and ever in the realm of interpretation.
Text and Ritual in Early China edited by Martin Kern (University of Washington Press) 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 artefacts, manuscripts, and inscriptions, their combined efforts reveal the rich and multilayered interplay of textual composition and ritual performance.
"Crossing the fields of Chinese history, literature, philology, and archaeology, this important collection examines understanding of the most fundamental aspects of the Chinese literary tradition and challenges established ideas about classical Han (206 BCE-220 CE) and pre-Han texts. Kern (Princeton) provides a stimulating introduction and then eight essays, one of his own and others by leading scholars of their fields... Each chapter is a scholarly thrill, and the extensive bibliography is a valuable resource." Choice "No other work currently available takes as seriously the symbiosis between ritual and text as does this one. While recent literary study has brought to the forefront the composite nature of the early classical texts of China, this work asks us to rethink not only how many of these logia may have had their origins in ritual practice, but also how the assemblage of the texts themselves may have been ritual acts." Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy"Publication of Text and Ritual in Early China is an exceptionally important event for scholars of pre-imperial and early imperial Chinese history. . . . By opening new avenues for research, the contributors to Text and Ritual have already begun to reshape the field, achieving a major scholarly breakthrough." - Journal of the American Oriental Society
"Crossing the fields of Chinese history, literature, philology, and archaeology, this important collection examines understanding of the most fundamental aspects of the Chinese literary tradition and challenges established ideas about classical Han (206 BCE-220 CE) and pre-Han texts. Kern (Princeton) provides a stimulating introduction and then eight essays, one of his own and others by leading scholars of their fields. . . . Each chapter is a scholarly thrill, and the extensive bibliography is a valuable resource." - Choice
insert content here