Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Conference on the History and Culture of Early Medieval China

May 11, 2015

Conference venue: 
Department of Asian Studies, Palacký University Olomouc, Křížkovského 12, Olomouc, Czech Republic, rooms: 2.05, 2.07

Conference topic:
Wedged between the Han and the Tang, both great unified empires, the period of early medieval China has been long considered a “dark age”, notorious for its lack of unity, predominance of non-Han ethnic groups and cultural decadence. As such, it still remains a rather understudied epoch of Chinese history. Yet, it was precisely this crucial period that witnessed the birth of many a phenomenon or institution which we readily associate with the much later unified empire. Therefore, the understanding of the transformation and development China underwent between the 3rd and the 6th centuries is essential for the better understanding of Chinese history as a whole.

The conference is the next step in a broader initiative supported by the CHINET project which aims at establishing a research group of mainly Europe-based, early-career researchers with a common interest in early medieval China, which might stimulate research into this period of Chinese history and contribute to the founding of a specialized “field” with connected communities pursuing the same research interests. Participants of the conference will present the outcomes of their individual research ranging from political and institutional history, historiography and geography to philosophy and literature. It is hoped that the conference will help to draw attention to this fascinating period of Chinese history and will initiate a fruitful discussion on research topics which might be shared by early medieval China scholars Europe-wide.

Conference Program:

welcoming speech

Giulia Baccini: The flourishing of anecdotal literature during the Six Dynasties period: taking the Xiaolin and the Yin Yun xiaoshuo as a reference

Katherine Leese-Messing: Historical criticism in early medieval China: Pei Songzhi’s personal comments on Sanguo history

coffee break

Jörg Hüsemann: Preserving Antiquity: Perceiving and Knowing the Past in the Shuijing zhu


Jakub Hrubý: Enfeoffment as a Means of Political Legitimacy during the Upheaval of the Eight Princes (291-306 A.D.)

Pablo Ariel Blitstein: The role of the master-disciple relation in medieval Chinese political institutions (5th-6th centuries)

coffee break

Dušan Vávra: Modes of perfect action in Wang Bi’s and Guo Xiang’s thought

Jakub Otčenášek: The Dialectics of Cosmologies: The Development of the Worldview of the “Tianshi Dao” from the 2nd until the 5th century

wrap up

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Art of Medicine in Early China:The Ancient and Medieval Origins of a Modern Archive

Miranda Brown

Publication Year: 

Cambridge University Press

In this book, Miranda Brown investigates the myths that acupuncturists and herbalists have told about the birth of the healing arts. Moving from the Han (206 BC–AD 220) and Song (960–1279) dynasties to the twentieth century, Brown traces the rich history of Chinese medical historiography and the gradual emergence of the archive of medical tradition. She exposes the historical circumstances that shaped the current image of medical progenitors: the ancient bibliographers, medieval editors, and modern reformers and defenders of Chinese medicine who contributed to the contemporary shape of the archive. Brown demonstrates how ancient and medieval ways of knowing live on in popular narratives of medical history, both in modern Asia and in the West. She also reveals the surprising and often unacknowledged debt that contemporary scholars owe to their pre-modern forbearers for the categories, frameworks, and analytic tools with which to study the distant past.

Table of Contents:

Part I. Before Medical History:
1. Attendant He: innovator or persona?
2. Bian Que as a seer: political persuaders and the medical imagination
3. Chunyu Yi: can the healer speak?

Part II. Medical Histories:
4. Liu Xiang: the imperial library and the creation of the exemplary healer list
5. Zhang Ji: the kaleidoscopic father
6. Huangfu Mi: from innovator to transmitter

Epilogue: ancient histories in the modern age
Appendix: a problematic preface.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China

Young, Stuart H

Publication Year:

University of Hawaii Press

Aśvaghoa, Nāgārjuna, and Āryadeva are among the most celebrated Indian patriarchs in Asian Buddhist traditions and modern Buddhist studies scholarship. Scholars agree that all three lived in first- to third-century C.E. India, so most studies have focused on locating them in ancient Indian history, religion, or society. To this end, they have used all available accounts of the Indian patriarchs' lives—in Sanskrit, Tibetan, various Central Asian languages, and Chinese, produced over more than a millennium—and viewed them as bearing exclusively on ancient India. Of these sources, medieval Chinese hagiographies are by far the earliest and most abundant.

Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China is the first attempt to situate the medieval Chinese hagiographies of Aśvaghoa, Nāgārjuna, and Āryadeva in the context of Chinese religion, culture, and society of the time. It examines these sources not as windows into ancient Indian history but as valuable records of medieval Chinese efforts to define models of Buddhist sanctity. It explores broader questions concerning Chinese conceptions of ancient Indian Buddhism and concerns about being Buddhist in latter-day China. By propagating the tales and texts of Aśvaghoa, Nāgārjuna, and Āryadeva, leaders of the Chinese sangha sought to demonstrate that the means and media of Indian Buddhist enlightenment were readily available in China and that local Chinese adepts could thereby rise to the ranks of the most exalted Buddhist saints across the Sino-Indian divide. Chinese authors also aimed to merge their own kingdom with the Buddhist heartland by demonstrating congruency between Indian and Chinese ideals of spiritual attainment. This volume shows, for the first time, how Chinese Buddhists adduced the patriarchs as evidence that Buddhist masters from ancient India had instantiated the same ideals, practices, and powers expected of all Chinese holy beings and that the expressly foreign religion of Buddhism was thus the best means to sainthood and salvation for latter-day China.

Table of Contents:
Buddhist sainthood in dharmic history
An Indian lineage severed
Salvation in writing and the annex of Indian Buddhism
Nagarjuna divine and the alchemy of hagiography
An Indian silkworm god in China
Buddhist saints to bridge the Sino-Indian divide.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Color in Ancient and Medieval East Asia

Mary M Dusenbury

Publication Year:

Yale University Press


With essays by Monica Bethe, Mary M Dusenbury, Shih-shan Susan Huang, Ikumi Kaminishi, Guolong Lai, Richard Laursen, Liu Jian and Zhao Feng, Chika Mouri, Park Ah-rim, Hillary Pedersen, Lisa Shekede and Su Bomin, Sim Yeon-ok and Lee Seonyong, Tanaka Yoko, and Zhao Feng and Long Bo

Color was a critical element in East Asian life and thought, but its importance has been largely overlooked in Western scholarship. This interdisciplinary volume explores the fascinating roles that color played in the society, politics, thought, art, and ritual practices of ancient and medieval East Asia (ca. 1600 B.C.E.–ca. 1400 C.E.). While the Western world has always linked color with the spectrum of light, in East Asian civilizations colors were associated with the specific plant or mineral substances from which they were derived. Many of these substances served as potent medicines and elixirs, and their transformative powers were extended to the dyes and pigments they produced. Generously illustrated, this groundbreaking publication constitutes the first inclusive study of color in East Asia. It is the outcome of years of collaboration between chemists, conservators, archaeologists, historians of art and literature, and scholars of Buddhism and Daoism from the United States, East Asia, and Europe.

Table of Contents:

Colors and Color Symbolism in Ancient China
Colors and Color Symbolism in Early Chinese Ritual Art : Red and Black and the Formation of the Five Colors System / Guolong Lai

Tomb and Grotto Paintings
Wall Paintings at the Mogao Grotto Site, Dunhuang, China : Color Use from Northern Wei to Tang / Lisa Shekede and Su Bomin

Colors in Mural Paintings in Goguryeo Kingdom Tombs / Park Ah-Rim

Dyes on Ancient Chinese and Japanese Textiles
Yellow and Red Dyes in Ancient Asian Textiles / Richard Laursen --
Jincao (Arthraxon hispidus) : A Plant Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and for Dyeing Yellow / Chika Mouri --
Imperial Yellow in the Sixth Century : A Preliminary Attempt to Reproduce Imperial Yellow Based on Instructions in the Qimin yaoshu / Zhao Feng and Long Bo --

Dye Analysis of Two Polychrome Woven Textiles from the Han and Tang Dynasties / Liu Jian and Zhao Feng --

Color at the Court of Japan
Color at the Japanese Court in the Asuka and Nara Periods / Mary M. Dusenbury 
Color in the Man'yōshū, an Eighth-Century Anthology of Japanese Poetry / Monice Bethe
Embroidered Slippers in the Shōsōin Repository / Tanaka Yoko
Color and Yearly Palace Rituals in Japan during the Nara and Heian Periods / Monica Bethe

Color at the Court of Japan in the Heian Period / Mary M. Dusenbury

Color in Religious Art in Medieval East Asia
Colors of the Five Directions Associated with Deposits Enshrined in Buddhist Statues in Korea / Sim Yeon-Ok and Lee Seonyong
Color Schemes in Early Medieval Japanese Buddhist Imagery / Hillary Pedersen -
Zenmyō's True Colors : Demonstrating Non-Duality of Form and Emptiness in the Kegon Scroll / Ikumi Kaminishi
Daoist Uses of Color in Visualization and Ritual Practices / Shih-Shan Susan Huang
The Substance of Color
Botanical and historical information about the major dye plants used in ancient and medieval East Asia / Mary M. Dusenbury

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

[Dissertation] The Development of Buddhist Repentance in Early Medieval China

Hong, De


Publication Year:

This dissertation examines the development and legitimation of repentance rituals within the initial formative period of Chinese Buddhism in the early medieval period. Repentance can be considered as one of the many phases in the process of Sinicization of Buddhism. Repentance scriptures were initially developed, as a liturgy, for the purpose of eradicating unwholesome karma and attaining samadhi or Buddhahood by the individual. They gradually became part of the cultivation process in many Chinese Buddhist traditions as well as a dynamically living tradition of devotion among the Chinese Buddhists.

Out of the dozens of repentance scriptures dated up to the sixth century CE, the Sutra Spoken by the Buddha on Manjusri's Teaching of Repentance T. 14, No. 459 (271 CE) prescribes one rather simple six-part repentance ritual involving prostrations in front of Buddha statues. By performing repentance, one would be able to purify one's transgressions and attain samadhi, the scripture claims. The major components in the repentance rituals, I argue, resemble the discourses of confession and punishment and prostrations in pre-Buddhist China along with the acts of grace and were subsequently accepted and integrated into daily Buddhist liturgy in Chinese religious life.

These early repentance rituals were later modified into many complex rituals for the living as well as on behalf of the deceased. By studying the repentance rituals, this dissertation attempts to determine if there are any changes in structures and contents over time. Such an examination allows us to see the development and transformation of a simple Indian confession practice into a genre of repentance rituals with different soteriological goals that are still in practice in East Asia and beyond today. This dissertation makes a valuable contribution to the field of religious studies in Chinese Buddhism by providing insights into an understanding of the development and acceptance of repentance rituals into Chinese religious life in the early medieval period.

Monday, April 13, 2015




Publication Year:

Table of Contents:


第一部 六朝期知識人の宗教的関心と仏教受容
第一章 東晋代における士大夫の宗教的関心と仏教
第二章 東晋士大夫における儒仏一致論の社会的意義
第三章 廬山慧遠における問題意識と仏教思想
第四章 僧肇における宗教的関心と仏教思想
第五章 竺道生の問題意識と仏教思想
第六章 羅什門下における経典受容

第二部 三教論争における諸問題
第一章 咸康論争の思想史的意義
第二章 東晋代の礼敬論争
第三章 『弁宗論』論争における頓悟説と漸悟説の特徴
第四章 『白黒論』論争の展開とその思想的特徴
第五章 『達性論』論争の展開とその思想的特徴
第六章 『夷夏論』論争における思想的特徴

第一章 帛尸梨蜜多羅と『潅頂経』
第二章 仏教的世界観と経済活動

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Civil-Military Relations in Chinese History: From Ancient China to the Communist Takeover

Kai Filipiak

Publication Year:


Modern studies of civil--military relations recognize that the military is separate from civil society, with its own norms and values, principles of organization, and regulations. Key issues of concern include the means by which – and the extent to which – the civil power controls the military; and also the ways in which military values and approaches permeate and affect wider society. This book examines these issues in relation to China, covering the full range of Chinese history from the Zhou, Qin, and Han dynasties up to the Communist takeover in 1949. It traces how civil--military relations were different in different periods, explores how military specialization and professionalization developed, and reveals how military weakness often occurred when the civil authority with weak policies exerted power over the military. Overall, the book shows how attitudes to the military’s role in present day Communist China were forged in earlier periods.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: civil-military relations in Chinese history 

1 The rise and fall of the system of rites and music and the evolution of the Zhou army 

2 Military codes of virtue: aspects of wen and wu in China's Warring States Period 

3 The master of works (sikong) in the armies of the Qin and Han dynasties 

4 Re- thinking the civil-military divide in the southern dynasties 

5 Changes in the title systems for generals in ancient China 

6 Origins and selection criteria of soldiers in different stages of the Tang dynasty (618-907)

7 The drum and wind palace music of the Tang and Song dynasty 

8 The rise of the martial: rebalancing wen and wu in Song dynasty culture 

9 Postcards from the edge: competing strategies for the defense of Liaodong in the late Ming

10 The adaptation of Chinese military techniques to Chosŏn Korea, their validation, and the social dynamics thereof 

11 Craftsmen and specialist troops in early modern Chinese armies 

12 Military atrocities in warlord China

13 The military ascendant: the ascendancy of the Chinese military during the Resistance War 1937-1945 (and afterwards)





Thursday, April 9, 2015

[Conference] To Remember, Re-member, and Disremember: Instrumentality of Traditional Chinese Texts

April 10-11, 2015

Arizona State University


April 10, 2015

8:45 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Opening Ceremony (LL 14)

9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Keynote Speech
Siao-chen Hu (Academia Sinica): “Apocryphal Ming Writings on Dali and the Construction of Local Historical Memory”

10:15a.m.-11:45 a.m. Panel 1: Place and Imaginative Remembrance

Manling Luo (Indiana University): “Cultural Memory and Place-Making in an Early Medieval Chinese Memoir”

Stephen H. West (Arizona State University): “A Landscape of Ghosts: Wang Ji’s Trek to the Yalu River”

1:00p.m.-2:30p.m. Panel 2: Learning about Cross-Generational Subjectivity

Robert F. Campany (Vanderbilt University): “Remembering Past Lives in Early Medieval China”

Timothy Davis (Brigham Young University): “How to be a Man in Early Medieval China: Transmitting Codes of Masculinity through Fatherly Admonition”

3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Panel 3: Sociality of Text

Wendy Swartz (Rutgers University): “The Intertextual Brush: Textual Quotation and Cultural Memory in Early Medieval China”

Alexei Ditter (Reed College):  “Genre and Memory in the Writings of Quan Deyu 權德輿 (759-818)”

April 11, 2015

9:00a.m.-10:00a.m. Keynote Speech

Yasushi Oki (University of Tokyo): “An Index to Memories of the Ming: Poetic Exchanges on Early Qing Female Entertainers”

10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Panel 4: Performing Contested Memories

Meow Hui Goh (Ohio State University): “The Instrumentality of Jian 諫 for Imperial Remembrance: Admonishing Wei Emperor Ming against Extravagance”

Jessey Choo (Rutgers University): “Femme Fatale or Long-suffering Wife and Stepmother?—Lady Houmochen Remembered in the Tang Official Histories and Entombed Epitaph (muzhi)”

Xiaojing Sun (Arizona State University): “Performance and Memory: Shi Hao’s 史浩 (1106-1194) Daqu Performance ‘Sword Dance’”

1:15 p.m.-3:15p.m. Panel 5: Memory and Affect

Chiung-yun Evelyn Liu (Academia Sinica): “The Craft of Remembering: Performing Loyalty in Two Early Qing Plays on the 1402 Usurpation”

Xiaoqiao Ling (Arizona State University): “The Self Reconfigured in Recollected Dreams: Xue Cai’s 薛寀 (jinshi 1631) Diary during the Manchu Conquest”

Ling Hon Lam (University of California, Berkeley): “Memory minus Empathy? Nostalgia and Ecstatic Temporality in Early Qing China”

4:00p.m.-5:00 p.m. Roundtable: New Possibilities of Reading Texts
Joe Cutter (Arizona State University)
Siao-chen Hu (Academia Sinica)
Yasushi Oki (University of Tokyo) 

Sunday, April 5, 2015



Publication Year:


Table of Contents:

1. 中国西北出土木簡概説(冨谷至)
- 木簡の発見
- 簡牘の形状と名称
- 辺境出土簡の時代
- 辺境行政と漢簡の内容

2. 漢代辺境出土文書にみえる年中行事――夏至と臘(目黒杏子)
はじめに事――「暦譜(カレンダー)」に記された時節/「元康五年詔書冊」の概要/夏至の行事の内容/公務は休みになったのか?/前漢時代の世界観における夏至の意味/再び夏至の儀礼、行事の意図/臘肉銭簿」から/臘の情景/臘への王朝の関与/臘の慣行としての賜物/「臘銭」と「臘肉」/「臘肉銭簿」作成の背景 /おわりに事――年中行事と王朝支配

3. 木札が行政文書となるとき――木簡文書のオーソライズ(土口史記)
- 兵卒の身分を記すリスト/掛け売りの証明書/「功労案」(勤務評価書)の見本
- 官印の取り扱い/辺境簡における印/封印が守るもの/封印の破損/私印の使用

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Emergence of China: From Confucius to the Empire

E Bruce Brooks and A Taeko Brooks

Publication Date: 
February 15, 2015

University Press of New England


The Emergence of China presents the classical period in its own terms. It contains more than 500 translated excerpts from the classical texts, linked by a running commentary which traces the evolution and interaction of the different schools of thought. These are shown in dialogue about issues from tax policy to the length of the mourning period for a parent. Some texts labor to construct the legal and political edifice of the new state, while others passionately oppose its war orientation, or amusingly ridicule those who supported it. Here are the arguments of the Hundred Schools of classical thought, for the first time restored to life and vividly presented.

There are six topical chapters, each treating a major subject in chronological order, framed by a preliminary background chapter and a concluding survey of the eventual Empire. Each chapter includes several brief Methodological Moments, as samples of the philological method on which the work is based. Occasional footnotes point to historical parallels in Greece, Rome, the Ancient Near East, and the mediaeval-to-modern transition in Europe, which at many points the Chinese classical period resembles. At the back of the book are a guide to alternate Chinese romanizations, a list of passages translated, and a subject index.

This is the only account of early Chinese thought which presents it against the background of the momentous changes taking place in the early Chinese state, and the only account of the early Chinese state which follows its development, by correctly dated documents, from its beginnings in the palace states of Spring and Autumn to the economically sophisticated bureaucracies of late Warring States times. In this larger context, the insights of the philosophers remain, but their failure to influence events is also noted. The fun of the Jwangdz is transmitted, but along with its underlying pain. The achievements of the Chinese Imperial formation process are duly registered, but so is their human cost. Special attention is given to the contribution of non-Chinese peoples to the eventual Chinese civilization.

Table of Contents:

Title Page

Chapter 1: Antiquity
The Myth of Gwan Jung, p32; a Methodological Moment
Confucius' Father, p35-37

Chapter 2: The Economy
The Land Tax, p40-42
Universal Sovereignty p45-46, a Methodological Moment
Agrarian Primitivism, p61-64

Chapter 3: The State
Philosophical Interactions, p74
Concepts of Change, p84-85

Chapter 4: War
A Plan for Peace, p94-97
Defense, p119-120

Chapter 5: The Civilian Elite
Recruitment, p134
Sywndz, p143-148, a Methodological Moment

Chapter 6: The People
Non-Sinitic Persons, p159-161; ending in a Methodological Moment
Populism, the people's right of criticism, p157-162, ending in Confucius's verdict on the idea
The Human Nature Debate, p172-176

Chapter 7: Transcendence
Deep Reality, p195-197, a Methodological Moment
The Limits of Transcendence, p208

Chapter 8: The Empire
The Question of Feudalism, p212-214
The Resurgence of Chu, p230-234

Major Events
Text Chronology
Romanization Table
Works Cited
Passages Translated
Subject Index
Back Cover

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective

Haicheng Wang

Publication Year:

Cambridge University Press


Writing and the Ancient State explores the early development of writing and its relationship to the growth of political structures. The first part of the book focuses on the contribution of writing to the state's legitimating project. The second part deals with the state's use of writing in administration, analyzing both textual and archaeological evidence to reconstruct how the state used bookkeeping to allocate land, police its people, and extract taxes from them. The third part focuses on education, the state's system for replenishing its staff of scribe-officials. The first half of each part surveys evidence from Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Maya lowlands, Central Mexico, and the Andes; against this background the second half examines the evidence from China. 

The chief aim of this book is to shed new light on early China (from the second millennium BC through the end of the Han period, ca. 220 AD) while bringing to bear the lens of cross-cultural analysis on each of the civilizations under discussion. The compiling of lists - lists of names, or of names and numbers - is a recurring theme throughout all three parts. A concluding chapter argues that there is nothing accidental about the pervasiveness of this theme: in both origin and function, early writing is almost synonymous with the listing of names.

Table of Contents:

Writing and the legitimation of the state : history as king list

Writing and the wealth of the state : people and land, census and land register

Writing and the perpetuation of the state : scribal education, lexical Lists, and literature