Timothy M. Davis
In Entombed Epigraphy and Commemorative Culture Timothy M. Davis presents a history of early muzhiming—the most versatile and persistent commemorative form employed in the elite burials of pre-modern China.
While previous scholars have largely overlooked the contemporary religious, social, and cultural functions of these epigraphic objects, this study directly addresses these areas of concern, answering such basic questions as: Why were muzhiming buried in tombs? What distinguishes commemorative biography from dynastic history biography? And why did muzhiming develop into an essential commemorative genre esteemed by the upper classes?
Furthermore, this study reveals how aspiring families used muzhiming to satisfy their obligations to deceased ancestors, establish a multi-generational sense of corporate identity, and strengthen their claims to elite status.
Table of Contents:
1 The Social Functions of Early Medieval Muzhiming
2 The Religious Functions of Entombed Epigraphy
3 Mortuary Epigraphy Moves Underground
4 Entombed Epigraphy in an Era of Political Instability
5 Historiographical Biography and Commemorative Biography
6 The Rise of Muzhiming as a Literary Genre
Appendix A: Entombed Epitaphs from the Western Jin and Eastern Jin Dynasties
Appendix B: Northern Wei Entombed Epitaphs Prior to 494 CE