Sunday, September 30, 2012

Philosophy and Religion in Early Medieval China 中古早期中國的哲學與宗教

Alan K. L. Chan, Yuet-Keung Lo


SUNY Press

Publication Year: 



An exploration of Chinese thought during a time of monumental change, the period after the fall of the Han dynasty.

Exploring a time of profound change, this book details the intellectual ferment after the fall of the Han dynasty. Questions about “heaven” and the affairs of the world that had seemed resolved by Han Confucianism resurfaced and demanded reconsideration. New currents in philosophy, religion, and intellectual life emerged to leave an indelible mark on the subsequent development of Chinese thought and culture. This period saw the rise of xuanxue (“dark learning” or “learning of the mysterious Dao”), the establishment of religious Daoism, and the rise of Buddhism. In examining the key ideas of xuanxue and focusing on its main proponents, the contributors to this volume call into question the often-presumed monolithic identity of this broad philosophical front. The volume also highlights the richness and complexity of religion in China during this period, examining the relationship between the Way of the Celestial Master and local, popular religious beliefs and practices, and discussing the relationship between religious Daoism and Buddhism.

Table of Contents: 


Alan K. L. Chan

1. Sage Nature and the Logic of Namelessness: Reconstructing He Yan’s Explication of Dao

Alan K. L. Chan

2. Tracing the Dao: Wang Bi’s Theory of Names

Jude Soo Meng Chua

3. Hexagrams and Politics: Wang Bi’s Political Philosophy in the Zhouyi zhu

Tze Ki Hon

4. Li in Wang Bi and Guo Xiang: Coherence in the Dark

Brook Ziporyn

5. The Sage without Emotion: Music, Mind, and Politics in Xi Kang

Ulrike Middendorf

6. The Ideas of Illness, Healing, and Morality in Early Heavenly Master Daoism

Chi Tim Lai

7. Imagining Community: Family Values and Morality in the Lingbao Scriptures

Stephen R. Bokenkamp

8. What is Geyi, After All?

Victor H. Mair

9. The Buddharaja Image of Emperor Wu of Liang

Kathy Cheng Mei Ku

10. Social and Cultural Dimensions of Reclusion in Early Medieval China

Alan Berkowitz

11. Destiny and Retribution in Early Medieval China

Yuet Keung Lo



Interpretation and Literature in Early Medieval China 中古早期中國的詮釋與文學

Editors :
Alan K. L. Chan, ‎Yuet-Keung Lo


SUNY Press 

Publication Year:


Explores the new literary and interpretive milieu that emerged in the years following the decline of China’s Han dynasty.

Covering a time of great intellectual ferment and great influence on what was to come, this book explores the literary and hermeneutic world of early medieval China. In addition to profound political changes, the fall of the Han dynasty allowed new currents in aesthetics, literature, interpretation, ethics, and religion to emerge during the Wei-Jin Nanbeichao period. The contributors to this volume present developments in literature and interpretation during this era from a variety of methodological perspectives, frequently highlighting issues hitherto unremarked in Western or even Chinese and Japanese scholarship. These include the rise of new literary and artistic values as the Han declined, changing patterns of patronage that helped reshape literary tastes and genres, and new developments in literary criticism. The religious changes of the period are revealed in the literary self-presentation of spiritual seekers, the influence of Daoism on motifs in poetry, and Buddhist influences on both poetry and historiography. Traditional Chinese literary figures, such as the fox and the ghost, receive fresh analysis about their particular representation during this period.

Table of Contents:

Alan K. L. Chan and Yuet-Keung Lo

1. Court Culture in the Late Eastern Han: The Case of the Hongdu Gate School
David R. Knechtges

2. The Patterns and Changes of Literary Patronage in the Han and Wei
Jui-Lung Su

3. Wandering in the Ruins: The Shuijing zhu Reconsidered
Michael Nylan

4. Evolving Practices of Guan and Liu Xie’s Theory of Literary Interpretation
Zong-Qi Cai

5. Narrative in the Self-Presentation of Transcendence-Seekers
Robert Ford Campany

6 “Jade Flower” and the Motif of Mystic Excursion in Early Religious Daoist Poetry
Timothy Wai-Keung Chan

7. Representing the Uncommon: Temple-Visit Lyrics from the Liang to Sui Dynasties
Cynthia L. Chennault

8. Fox as Trickster in Early Medieval China
Daniel Hsieh

9. Justice, Morality, and Skepticism in Six Dynasties Ghost Stories
Mu-chou Poo

List of Contributors

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Written at Imperial Command: Panegyric Poetry in Early Medieval China 「應詔詩」


作者 Author:
Fusheng Wu

出版社 Publisher:
SUNY Press

出版年 Publication Year:

內容簡介 Abstract:

This is the first book-length study of panegyric poetry—yingzhao shi or poetry presented to imperial rulers—in the Chinese tradition. Examining poems written during the Wei-Jin Nanbeichao, or early medieval period (220–619), Fusheng Wu provides a thorough exploration of the sociopolitical background against which these poems were written and a close analysis of the formal conventions of the poems.

By reconstructing the human drama behind the composition of these poems, Wu shows that writing under imperial command could be a matter of grave consequence. The poets’ work could determine the rise and fall of careers, or even cost lives. While panegyric poetry has been largely dismissed as perfunctory and insincere, such poems reveal much about the relations between monarchs and the intellectuals they patronized and also compel us to reexamine the canonical Chinese notion of poetic production as personal, spontaneous expression.

目錄 Table of Contents:


1. Han Epideictic Rhapsody: The Prototype of Panegyric Poetry

2. Self-Foregrounding in the Panegyric Poetry of the Jian’an Era

3. Archaic Elegance in the Panegyric Poetry of the Jin Dynasty

4. Addressing the Best and Worst of Rulers: Panegyric Poetry of the Liu Song Dynasty

5. Praising Rulers throughout Calm and Conspiracy: The Southern Qi Dynasty

6. The Flourishing of Panegyric Poetry during the Liang Dynasty

7. Poetry’s Embarrassment: Panegyric Poetry of the Chen Dynasty

8. Becoming Chinese: Panegyric Poetry during the Northern Dynasties

9. Matching Poems with a Cruel but Talented Ruler: The Sui Dynasty


Friday, September 28, 2012

The Dysfunction of Ritual in Early Confucianism


作者 Author:
Michael David Kaulana Ing

Oxford University Press

Publication Year:

內容簡介 Abstract:

In The Dysfunction of Ritual in Early Confucianism Michael Ing describes how early Confucians coped with situations where their rituals failed to achieve their intended aims. In contrast to most contemporary interpreters of Confucianism, Ing demonstrates that early Confucian texts can be read as arguments for ambiguity in ritual failure. If, as discussed in one text, Confucius builds a tomb for his parents unlike the tombs of antiquity, and rains fall causing the tomb to collapse, it is not immediately clear whether this failure was the result of random misfortune or the result of Confucius straying from the ritual script by building a tomb incongruent with those of antiquity. The Liji (Record of Ritual)--one of the most significant, yet least studied, texts of Confucianism--poses many of these situations and suggests that the line between preventable and unpreventable failures of ritual is not always clear. Ritual performance, in this view, is a performance of risk. It entails rendering oneself vulnerable to the agency of others; and resigning oneself to the need to vary from the successful rituals of past, thereby moving into untested and uncertain territory. Ing's book is the first monograph in English about the Liji--a text that purports to be the writings of Confucius' immediate disciples, and part of the earliest canon of Confucian texts called ''The Five Classics,'' included in the canon several centuries before the Analects. It challenges some common assumptions of contemporary interpreters of Confucian ethics--in particular the assumption that a cultivated ritual agent is able to recognize which failures are within his sphere of control to prevent and thereby render his happiness invulnerable to ritual failure.

Table of Contents:

Ritual in the Liji --
Typology of dysfunction --
Coming to terms with dysfunction --
Preventing --
Inevitability of failure --
Whose fault is failure? Ambiguity and impinging agencies --
Ancients did not fix their graves --
Productive anxieties and the awfulness of failed ritual --
Concluding reflections: toward a tragic theory of ritual --
On the textual composition of the Liji.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

[Dissertation] Mortuary Art in the Northern Zhou China (557–581 CE): Visualization of Class, Role, and Cultural Identity


Wu, Jui-Man

University of Pittsburgh. 

Publication Year:

Primary Advisor: 
Katheryn M. Linduff.


The period of Six Dynasties (221-581CE) has traditionally been thought of as a time when "the Five Barbarians brought disorder to China." During this period, present-day Northern China was ruled by non-Han leaders, including the Xianbei, a pastoral people from China's northern frontier who founded the Northern Zhou Dynasty. In addition, Chinese historical texts from the Six Dynasties refer to "merchant barbarians" generally assumed to be Sogdians, who lived in oasis states in Central Asia in present-day Uzbekistan and came to China across the Silk Road. Most scholarship has assumed that the period of Northern Zhou ruled by non-Chinese leaders was "sinicized," and the adoption of Chinese features in burial and artifacts in foreigners' tombs is evidence of that acculturation process. 

This dissertation, however, uses newly excavated materials from tombs dated to the Northern Zhou period, including the tombs of Xianbei leaders, Xianbei and Chinese generals, and Sogdian merchants, and proposes that visual arts and mortuary ritual played a role in creating and/or maintaining multiple sociopolitical and cultural identities for these residents of Northern Zhou. The theorization of power, agency, and cultural identity in recent publications has helped me analyze the processes involved in the construction of individual identity, group boundaries, and the interrelationships between socio-cultural groups. Theories of agency have helped me focus on choices made by different social and occupational groups. 

This dissertation has explored how the patterns of use of mortuary objects documented multiple identities for these three classes listed above with specific ethnic backgrounds: the sovereigns who were Xianbei; the military class of Xianbei and Han-Chinese; and the merchant class of Sogdians. I have discussed how aspects of political, military, and merchant life in the Northern Zhou period created a setting that contributed to multiple roles and identities in each group. My study has demonstrated the construction of multiple identities among elites and how they consistently distinguished themselves from other members of society. This dissertation will be the first contextual analysis focused on the visualization of class, social roles and cultural affiliation by examining mortuary art in the Northern Zhou.