Friday, January 30, 2015

Picturing Technology in China: From Earliest Times to the Nineteenth Century

Peter J. Golas

HKU Press

Publication Date:
2015. 1

Although the history of technological and scientific illustrations is a well-established field in the West, scholarship on the much longer Chinese experience is still undeveloped. This work by Peter Golas is a short, illustrated overview tracing the subject to pre-Han inscriptions but focusing mainly on the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. His main theme is that technological drawings developed in a different way in China from in the West largely because they were made by artists rather than by specialist illustrators or practitioners of technology. He examines the techniques of these artists, their use of painting, woodblock prints and the book, and what their drawings reveal about changing technology in agriculture, industry, architecture, astronomical, military, and other spheres.

Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations

1.  Early Graphics in China
- Pictorial Writing
- Geometrical Designs
- From Ornament to Narrative: Warring States and Han Illustrations
- Early Farming Paintings

2.  Han to Tang: Realism on the Rise
- Aesthetics and Realism to the Fore
- Scale Drawing and Perspective
- The Dominance of Brush and Line
- Models, Automata, and Technological Drawing
- The Advent of Woodblock Printing

3.  Song and Yuan: A Golden Age
- Ruled-line Painting and Its Critics
- Government, Printing, and Technological Representations
- The Collection of the Most Important Military Techniques (Wujing zongyao)
- The New Armillary Sphere and Celestial Globe System Essentials (Xinyixiang fayao)
- The Building Standards (Yingzao fashi)
- The Pictures of Tilling and Weaving (Geng zhi tu)
- The Agricultural Treatise (Nongshu) of Wang Zhen

4.  The New Confucian Paradigm
- Realism in Retreat
- Elite Dominance of Painting
- "Historical" Painting
- Philosophic Contributions to the New Painting Aesthetic
- Painting and Calligraphy

5.  Late Ming and The Exploitation of the Works of Nature
- The Exploitation of the Works of Nature: A Culmination of Sorts
- Song Yingxing and His World
- Book Illustration in the Late Ming
- Why This Work?
- Assessing the Illustrations
- Production Challenges
- The Later History of the Illustrations

6.  Qing Developments: Roads Not Taken
- The Seventeenth-Century Transition
- The Jesuit Contribution and Its Limited Impact
- A Qualified Last Hurrah for Realism: Architectural Painting in the Qing

Closing Comments
- Non-technological Aims in Portrayals of Technology
- Pre-eminence of Agriculture and Human Inputs
- Underrepresented Technologies
- The Absence of Standards for Technical Drawing
- The Role of Government Workshops
- Maturity or Stagnation?


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chang'an 26 BCE: An Augustan Age in China 西元前26年的長安城


Publication Date:
Jan. 29 2015

University of Washington Press


During the last two centuries BCE, the Western Han capital of Chang'an, near today's Xi'an in northwest China, outshone Augustan Rome in several ways while administering comparable numbers of imperial subjects and equally vast territories. At its grandest, during the last fifty years or so before the collapse of the dynasty in 9 CE, Chang'an boasted imperial libraries with thousands of documents on bamboo and silk in a city nearly three times the size of Rome and nearly four times larger than Alexandria. Many reforms instituted in this capital in the Western Han substantially shaped not only the institutions of the Eastern Han (25-220 CE) but also the rest of imperial China until 1911.

Although thousands of studies document imperial Rome's glory, until now no book-length work in a Western language has been devoted to Han Chang'an, the reign of Emperor Chengdi (whose accomplishments rival those of Augustus and Hadrian), or the city's impressive library project (26-6 BCE), which ultimately produced the first state-sponsored versions of many of the classics and masterworks that we hold in our hands today. Chang'an 26 BCE addresses this deficiency, using as a focal point the reign of Emperor Chengdi (r. 33-7 BCE), specifically the year in which the imperial library project began. This in-depth survey by some of the world's best scholars, Chinese and Western, explores the built environment, sociopolitical transformations, and leading figures of Chang'an, making a strong case for the revision of historical assumptions about the two Han dynasties. A multidisciplinary volume representing a wealth of scholarly perspectives, the book draws on the established historical record and recent archaeological discoveries of thousands of tombs, building foundations, and remnants of walls and gates from Chang'an and its surrounding area.

Table of Contents:

Editorial note
Chronology of dynasties and Han reign periods
Introduction / Michael NYLAN 

Part 1. The built environment and archaeology of Han Chang'an

 The evolution of imperial urban form in Western Han Chang'an / TANG   Xiaofeng 唐曉峰

 Chang'an and Rome : structural parallels and the logics of urban form /   Carlos F. NORENA

 Supplying the capital with water and food / Michael NYLAN

 Mural tombs in late Western Han Chang'an / Arlen LIAN 

 Chang'an's funerary culture and the core Han culture / HUANG Yijun

 The residential wards of Western Han Chang'an / ZHANG Jihai 張繼海

 The tombs built for Han Chengdi and migrations of the population / Michael LOEWE

Part 2. Sociopolitical transformations in late Western Han

● Chengdi's reign : problems and controversies / Michael LOEWE

 Recasting the imperial court in late Western Han : rank, duty, and alliances during institutional change / Luke HABBERSTAD

 The suburban sacrifice reforms and the evolution of the imperial sacrifices / TIAN Tian 田天

 Calendrical computation numbers and Han Dynasty politics : a study of Gu Yong's 谷永 Three Troubles theory / LIU Tseng-Kuei 劉增貴

 The politics of omenology in Chengdi's reign / Shao-yun YANG

 Pining for the West : Chang'an in the life of kings and their families during Chengdi's reign / Griet VANKEERBERGHEN

Part 3. Leading figures in late Western Han

 Liu Xiang and Liu Xin / Michael LOEWE

 A fu by Liu Xin on his travels in Shanxi and Inner Mongolia / David R. KNECHTGES

 Yang Yun's biography, his outlook, and his poem / Jurij L. KROLL

 Looking backward : the rise of medical tradition in the Han period / Miranda BROWN

 The social roles of the annals classic in late western Han / Mark CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

 The late Western Han historian Chu Shaosun / Hans VAN ESS

Afterword: New perspectives and avenues for future research / Michael NYLAN


Saturday, January 17, 2015

[Dissertation] Calligraphy and Scribal Tradition in Early China

Bin, Dongchoel

Indiana University

Publication Year:

Historically, discussions of brush calligraphy for early China have been limited due to the scarcity of examples of ink writing prior to the Eastern Han Dynasty (23-220 CE). In recent decades, however, the discovery of large caches of ink manuscripts, most belonging to the Warring States period (453-221 BCE), has attracted attention, although calligraphic issues have rarely been specifically addressed. This dissertation focuses on such calligraphic issues, asking what this new corpus of recovered texts can tell us about the nature of brush writing, scribal skills and conventions, and the training and tradition entailed in these skills and conventions at this early stage.

In contrast to early calligraphic norms in bronze inscriptions before the Warring States period, the Warring States manuscripts show a variety of calligraphic practices that could be called "innovative." My hypothesis is that behind these many innovations in brush writing, there existed different scribal traditions which were rooted in "master-disciple" relationships. From various examples of Warring States era calligraphy, including bronze inscriptions and manuscripts, we see the strong possibility of multiple workshops reflecting different master-disciple calligraphic teaching lineages.

This study develops an appropriate technical framework for analyzing these early calligraphic data, and applies it to reveal cases where multiple hands share traits that indicate a common master-disciple tradition, as well as where they may reflect distinct traditions. This model of pre-Imperial scribal traditions, based in workshop practice, can serve the heuristic function of providing conceptual tools for the analysis of an otherwise unwieldy corpus, and play an important role in our understanding of how ink brush calligraphy became a self-conscious art during this period.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

State Power in Ancient China and Rome

Walter Scheidel

Oxford University Press

Publication Year:


Two thousand years ago, the Qin/Han and Roman empires were the largest political entities of the ancient world, developing simultaneously yet independently at opposite ends of Eurasia. Although their territories constituted only a small percentage of the global land mass, these two Eurasian polities controlled up to half of the world population and endured longer than most pre-modern imperial states. Similarly, their eventual collapse occurred during the same time. 

The parallel nature of the Qin/Han and Roman empires has rarely been studied comparatively. Yet here is a collection of pioneering case studies, compiled by Walter Scheidel, that sheds new light on the prominent aspects of imperial state formation. This essential new volume builds on the foundation of Scheidel's Rome and China (2009), and opens up a comparative dialogue among distinguished scholars. They provide unique insights into the complexities of imperial rule, including the relationship between rulers and elite groups, the funding of state agents, the determinants of urban development, and the rise of bureaucracies. By bringing together experts in each civilization, State Power in Ancient China and Rome provides a unique forum to explore social evolution, helping us further understand government and power relations in the ancient world.

Table of Contents:


Walter Scheidel

1 Kingship and elite formation
Peter Fibiger Bang and Karen Turner

2 Toward a comparative understanding of the executive decision-making process in China and Rome
Corey Brennan

3 The Han bureaucracy: its origin, structure and development
Dingxin Zhao

4 The common denominator: late Roman imperial bureaucracy from a comparative perspective
Peter Eich

5 State revenue and expenditure in the Han and Roman empires
Walter Scheidel

6 Urban systems in the Han and Roman empires: state power and social control
Carlos Noreña

7 Public spaces in cities in the Roman and Han empires
Mark Lewis

8 Ghosts, gods, and the coming apocalypse: empire and religion in early China and ancient Rome
Michael Puett


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Rediscovering the Roots of Chinese Thought:Laozi's Philosophy

CHEN Guying 陳鼓應


Paul D’Ambrosio

Publication Year:

January 1, 2015


This book translates Lao Zhuang xinlun, a key work of contemporary Chinese. It offers a unique discussion of the Laozi, arguing—in contrast to standard Western scholarship—that the text goes back to a single author and identifying him as an older contemporary, and even teacher, of Confucius. This places the Confucian Analects after the Laozi and makes the text the most fundamental work of ancient Chinese thought.

Chen explores these debates regarding these points, providing evidence based on materials excavated from Mawangdui and Guodian. His book is fascinating documentation of contemporary Chinese arguments and debates previously unavailable in English. It is nothing less than a complete revision of the history of Chinese thought with Daoism as its major focus.

Table of Contents

1. Laozi before Kongzi
   —Laozi as Kongzi's Teacher; Laozi before Lunyu; Modern Scholarship; Laozi's Influence on Mozi; Conclusion

2. Laozi's and Kongzi's Teachings
   —Naturalism versus Rule by Virtuosity; The Importance of Society; Heavens, Dao, and Virtuosity; Human Innate Tendencies; Humaneness and Responsibility; Conclusion

3. The Early Laozi
   —The Guodian Versions; Moral Values; Philosophical Development; Issues in the Guodian Laozi

4. Laozi's Thought
Dimensions of Dao; Practical Application; Ontology and Experience

5. Laozi and Pre-Qin Philosophy
Mainstream Daoism; The Jixia School and Huang-Lao; Laozi's Impact; 


Thursday, January 1, 2015


河内春人 (Haruhito Kōchi)


Publication Year:

Table of Contents:

序章 本書の視角と構成
一 本書の視角  二 本書の構成  三 遣唐使における留意点
Ⅰ 遣唐使の機構

第一章 遣唐使の派遣動機
一 遣唐使以前
1対魏外交 2対宋外交 3対隋外交 4小結
二 外交における年期
1礼制における年期とその受容 2日本古代の年期 3日唐関係における年期
結 言

第二章 七世紀における遣唐使の組織構成
一 前史としての遣隋使
二 遣唐使の派遣
三 使職の名称と構成
四 使人と冠位
結 言

第三章 律令制下における遣唐使の組織構成
一 使節構成とその位階
二 節刀をめぐる使節構成
三 特殊使節の位相
結 言
Ⅱ 国際社会の中の遣唐使

第四章 入唐僧と海外情報
一 七・八世紀の海外情報
1七世紀の海外情報 2八世紀の海外情報 3小結
二 九世紀の海外情報
三 入唐僧の情報伝達
結 言

第五章 日唐交流史における人名
一 七世紀の隋唐における倭国人名
1隋における倭国人名 2唐における倭国人名 3小結
二 八世紀の日本人名
三 唐からの名付け
四 非公式の位相
結 言

第六章 石山寺遺教経奥書をめぐって
一 人名部分の釈読
二 奥書の解釈
三 天平遣唐使の動向
結 言
Ⅲ 史料論としての遣唐使

第七章 唐から見たエミシ
一 中国史料におけるエミシ
二 唐への来朝年次
三 エミシの地理・風俗情報
四 媒介国としての倭国/日本
結 言

第八章 『新唐書』日本伝の成立
一 中国における日本情報の収集
二 『王年代紀』との関係
三 唐代からの伝来情報
四 倭国伝から日本伝へ
結 言

第九章 『王年代紀』の史料論
一 成立の時期と執筆動機
二 書名
三 神統譜の背景
結 言
総括と展望   あとがき/初出一覧/索 引