Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Witchcraft and the Rise of the First Confucian Empire 巫蠱之禍

Liang, Cai

SUNY Press

Publication Year:


When did Confucianism become the reigning political ideology of imperial China? A pervasive narrative holds it was during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty (141–87 BCE). In this book, Liang Cai maintains that such a date would have been too early and provides a new account of this transformation. A hidden narrative in Sima Qian’s The Grand Scribe’s Records (Shi ji) shows that Confucians were a powerless minority in the political realm of this period. Cai argues that the notorious witchcraft scandal of 91–87 BCE reshuffled the power structure of the Western Han bureaucracy and provided Confucians an opportune moment to seize power, evolve into a new elite class, and set the tenor of political discourse for centuries to come.

Table of Contents:

List of Charts and Tables


1. Minority as the Protagonists: Revisiting Ru 儒 (Confucians) and Their Colleagues under Emperor Wu (141–87 BCE) of the Han

Ru, a Minority Group
Sources of the Myth

2. A Class Merely on Paper: A Study of “The Collective Biographies of Ru” in The Grand Scribe’s Records (Shi ji 史記)

Ru Identity Suppressed by Conflicts
Transforming “Ru” into Confucians
Redefining the Principles of Hierarchy

3. An Archeology of Interpretive Schools of the Five Classics in the Western Han Dynasty

Fragmented Scholarly Lineages
Revising Sima Qian
The Emergence and Proliferation of Interpretive Schools
Continuity or Disruption
Locating the Turning Point

4. A Reshuffle of Power: Witchcraft Scandal and the Birth of a New Class

A Fundamental Disjunction
The Rise of Ru Officials
Witchcraft Scandal and the Birth of a New Class

5. Begin in the Middle: Who Entrusted Ru with Political Power?

Huo Guang’s Dictatorship and Ru Discourse
Techniques of the Classics (jingshu 經術) and Legitimacy of the Throne
Ru Officials under Huo Guang and Emperor Xuan
Who Entrusted Ru with Political Power?

Ru before the Rise of the Ru Empire
Recruitment System of the Han Empire Revisited

Appendix: Major Official Titles of the Western Han Dynasty

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Xiongnu Archaeology : Multidisciplinary Perspectives of the First Steppe Empire in Inner Asia 匈奴考古學

Ursula Brosseder & Bryan Miller


Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn: Bonn

Publication Year: 

Table of Contents:


State of Research and Future Directions of Xiongnu Studies / Ursula Brosseder, Bryan K. Miller --

Concepts of the polity:

Ethnogenesis, coevolution and political morphology of the earliest steppe empire: the Xiongnu question revisited / Nicola Di Cosmo --

Evidence for the Xiongnu in Chinese wooden documents from the Han period / Enno Giele --

Stateless empire: the structure of the Xiongnu nomadic super-complex chiefdom / Nikolai N. Kradin --

Computing the steppes: data analysis for agent-based models of polities in inner Asia / 
Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, J. Daniel Robers, Steven P. WIlcox, Jai Alterman --

The Xiongnu and the comparative study of empire / Walter Scheidel --

The Xiongnu: progenitors of the classical nomad civilization / Zagd Batsaikhan --

People and life ways:

Typology of ancient settlement complexes of the Xiongnu in Mongolia and Transbaikalia / Sergei V. Danilov --

Settlement patterns and domestic economy of the Xiongnu in Khanui Valley, Mongolia / Jean-Luc Houle, Lee G. Broderick --

The staking tools from the Xiongnu settlement of Boroo Gol, Selenge Aimag, Mongolia / Denis Ramseyer, Marquita Volken --

Xiongnu ceramic chronology and typology in the Egiin Gol Valley, Mongolia / Joshua Wright --

The chronology at the Boroo Settlement, Mongolia: OSL dating of Xiongnu pottery / Saran Solongo, Tsagaan Törbat --

Reconstructing life histories of the Xiongnu. An overview of bioarchaeological applications / Michelle L. Machicek --

Xiongnu pastoral systems: integrating economies of subsistence and scale / Cheryl A. Makarewicz --

Xiongnu population history in relation to China, Manchuria, and the western regions / Christine Lee, Zhang Linhu --

Mortuary eficence of social dynamics:

Grave matters: reconstructing a Xiongnu identity from mortuary stone monuments / Erik G. Johannesson --

Caught in the act: understanding Xiongnu site formation processes at Baga Gazaryn Chuluu, 
Mongolia / Albert Russell Nelson, William Honeychurch, Chunag Amartüvshin --

The animal in the Xiongnu funeral universe: companion of the living, escort of the dead / Hélène Martin --

Gender relationships among the "Xiongnu" as reflected in burial patterns / Yang Jianhua --

Excavations of Xiongnu tombs at Duurlig Nars cemetery in eastern Mongolia / Yun Hyeung-won, Chang Eun-jeong --

A comparative analysis of Xiongnu noble tombs and burials in adjacent regions / Gelegdorzh Eregzen --

The early history of the study of the mounded tombs at the Noyon Uul necropolis: the collection of Andrei Ballod at the Irkutsk Museum of Regional Studies / Grigorii L. Ivanov --

An unlooted elite Xiongnu barrow at Khökh Üzüüriin Dugui-II, Bulgan sum, Khovd aimag, 
Mongolia: relative chronological dating and its significance for the study of Xiongnu burial rites: preliminary report / Alexei A. Kovalev, Diimaazhav Erdenebaatar, Tömör-Ochir Iderkhangai --

Excavations of satellite burial 30, tomb 1 complex, Gol Mod 2 Necropolis / Diimaazhav Erdenebaatar, Tömör-Ochir Iderkhangai, Baatar Galbadrakh, Enkhbaiar Minzhiddorzh, Samdanzhamts Orgilbaiar --

Interregional interaction:

A study on bronze mirrors in Xiongnu graves of Mongolia / Tsagaan Törbat --

Lacquer ear-cups from burial mound 20 in Noyon Uul / Natal'ia V. Polos'mak, Evgenii S. Bogdanov, Agniia N. Chistiakova, Liudmilla P. Kundo --

Animal style silver ornaments of the Xiongnu period / Chimiddorzh Erööl-Erdene --

Ceramic roof tiles from Terelzhiin Dörvölzhin / Sergei V. Danilov, Natal'ia V. Tsydenova --

Belt plaques as an indicator of East-West relations in the Eurasian steppe at the turn of the millennia / Ursula Brosseder --

Regioinal Approaches and delineating the polity:

Preliminary research on the spatial organization of the Xiongnu territories in Mongolia / Juliana Holotová Szinek --

Was the center of the Xiongnu empire in the Orkhon Valley? / Jan Bemmann --

A summary of Xiongnu sites within the northern periphery of China / Pan Ling --

The Shouxiangcheng fortress of the Western Han Period: excavations at Baian Bulag, Nomgon sum, Ömnögov' aimag, Mongolia / Alexei A. Kovalev, Diimaazhav Erdenebaatar, Sergei S. 
Matrenin, Ivan Iu. Grebennikov --

On the walled site of Mangasyn Khuree in Galbyn Gobi / Chunag Amartüvshin, Zham'ian-Ombo Gantulga, Dondog Garamzhav --

New finds from the Xiongnu period in central Tuva: preliminary communication / Pavel M. Leus -

Metal of the Xiongnu period from the Terezin cemetery, Tuva / Sergei V. Khavrin --

Characteristic burials of the Xiongnu period at Ialoman-II in the Altai / Alexei A. Tishkin --

Permutations of peripheries in the Xiongnu empire / Bryan K. Miller.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Exemplary Women of Early China: The Lienü zhuan of Liu Xiang 列女傳

Translator and editor
Anne Behnke Kinney

Publication Year



Columbia University Press


In early China, was it correct for a woman to disobey her father, contradict her husband, or shape the public policy of a son who ruled over a dynasty or state? According to the Lienü zhuan, or Categorized Biographies of Women, it was not only appropriate but necessary for women to step in with wise counsel when fathers, husbands, or rulers strayed from the path of virtue.

Compiled toward the end of the Former Han dynasty (202 BCE-9 CE) by Liu Xiang (79-8 BCE), the Lienü zhuan is the earliest extant book in the Chinese tradition solely devoted to the education of women. Far from providing a unified vision of women’s roles, the text promotes a diverse and sometimes contradictory range of practices. At one extreme are exemplars resorting to suicide and self-mutilation as a means to preserve chastity and ritual orthodoxy. At the other are bold and outspoken women whose rhetorical mastery helps correct erring rulers, sons, and husbands. The text provides a fascinating overview of the representation of women’s roles in early legends, formal speeches on statecraft, and highly fictionalized historical accounts during this foundational period of Chinese history.

Over time, the biographies of women became a regular feature of dynastic and local histories and a vehicle for expressing and transmitting concerns about women’s social, political, and domestic roles. The Lienü zhuan is also rich in information about the daily life, rituals, and domestic concerns of early China. Inspired by its accounts, artists across the millennia have depicted its stories on screens, paintings, lacquer ware, murals, and stone relief sculpture, extending its reach to literate and illiterate audiences alike.

Table of Contents:

1. The Maternal Models
2. The Worthy and Enlightened 
3. The Sympathetic and Wise 
4. The Chaste and Compliant 
5. The Principled and Righteous 
6. The Accomplished Rhetoricians
7. The Depraved and Favored
8. Supplemental Biographies 
Works Cited