Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Aspects of Classical Chinese Grammar

Meisterernst, Barbara

Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag

Publication Date:


The objective of the collection of articles presented in this volume is to provide a representative and meaningful selection of present research work on Classical Chinese Grammar. Since the articles cover a temporal range from the Pre-Classical to the Medieval period, the term ‘Classical Chinese’ is used in a more generous sense.

Two different but representative lines of research are predominant in this collection: the first focuses on the lexicon of Chinese, and the second focuses on its syntax or on the interface of its syntax and its semantics. Regarding the history of grammatical studies of Chinese, the first approach can be considered as a continuation and refinement of the traditional Chinese linguistic studies with new linguistic tools; the second approach follows and enhances the syntactic approach first proposed for the analysis of Chinese in the grammar of von der Gabelentz. 

In addition to these two general fields, a third and innovative field of research is included, focusing on the stratification of different linguistic registers in the Ancient Chinese language. With its selection of articles, this volume represents the multifaceted approaches presently employed to study the lexicon and the grammar of Classical Chinese, and it demonstrates the great progress the employment of different theoretical frameworks has induced in the analysis of the grammar Classical Chinese in recent times. This volume intends to convey the relevance of a meticulous and detailed study of the structural properties of Classical Chinese and to demonstrate that this study has to go beyond the mere analysis of apparent similarities.

Table of Contents:


ECM and Control in Archaic Chinese 

Glossing Strategies in the Shìmíng 釋名 

The Tripartite Division of Formal, Informal and Elevated Registers 

From Implicity to Explicity: Grammar Changes Induced by Lexical Changes 

The Expression of Epistemic Modality in Classical and Han Period Chinese 

Aspectual Function of the Particle yú 于/於 in Old Chinese 

Lǚshì Chūnqiū 呂氏春秋: Object Words Denoting Processes 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan 左傳: Commentary on Spring and Autumn Annals

Stephen W. Durrant; Wai-yee Li; David Schaberg

Publication Date: 
July 2016

University of Washington Press


Zuo Tradition (Zuozhuan; sometimes called The Zuo Commentary) is China's first great work of history. It consists of two interwoven texts - the Spring and Autumn Annals (Chunqiu 春秋, a terse annalistic record) and a vast web of narratives and speeches that add context and interpretation to the Annals. Completed by about 300 BCE, it is the longest and one of the most difficult texts surviving from preimperial times. It has been as important to the foundation and preservation of Chinese culture as the historical books of the Hebrew Bible have been to the Jewish and Christian traditions. It has shaped notions of history, justice, and the significance of human action in the Chinese tradition, perhaps more so than any comparable work of Latin or Greek historiography with respect to Western civilization. 

This translation, accompanied by the original text with an introduction and annotations, will finally make Zuozhuan accessible to all.

Table of Contents:

Chronology of dynasties

Volume One
Lord Yin
Lord Huan
Lord Zhuang
Lord Min
Lord Xi
Lord Wen
Lord Xuan

Volume Two
Lord Cheng
Lord Xiang

Volume Three
Lord Zhao
Lord Ding
Lord Ai

Place-name index

Personal name index

Friday, June 24, 2016

Notes diverses sur la capitale de l'Ouest 西京雜記 (Bilingual edition)

Jacques Pimpaneau

Les Belles Lettres

Publication Date:
April 15, 2016


Les Notes diverses sur la capitale de l'Ouest (Xijing zaji) nous offrent, sous la forme fragmentaire de brèves scènes et de descriptions sans organisation apparente, une vision éclatée, précise et étrange à la fois, de la glorieuse cité de Chang’an, capitale des Han occidentaux. Elles sont traditionnellement considérées comme une part des notes historiques rédigées par un grand lettré de l’époque des Han, Liu Xin (46 av. J.-C.-23 ap. J.-C.), c’est-à-dire celles qui, s’écartant trop de l’écriture orthodoxe de l’histoire, ne furent pas intégrées dans l’Histoire des Han (Han shu 漢書) rédigée par Ban Gu. De fait, cet ouvrage appartient au genre livre de notes, genre important dans l’histoire littéraire chinoise, dont il est un des fleurons. Il est un complément essentiel aux livres d’Histoire par son souci de véridicité et de détails, et il contient des anecdotes qui sont la première mention de faits qui seront ensuite repris et développés dans des ballades, des romans et plus tard à l’opéra. Au sein de la description fascinante des richesses et des fastes de la capitale, sont aussi évoqués des drames dans le gynécée impérial. Prise dans les tourments politiques de l’époque, la capitale de l’Ouest sera abandonnée en 23 de notre ère, l’année même de la mort de Liu Xin et les Han orientaux déplaceront leur capitale plus à l’Est, à Luoyang. Avec cette traduction par Jacques Pimpaneau, ce texte est pour la première fois accessible au lecteur français, qui est ainsi invité à parcourir les palais, les jardins et les tombes de la capitale disparue.

Table of Contents:

Avant-propos, par Damien Chaussende

Notes diverses sur la capitale de l'Ouest

Postface de Ge Hong 葛洪

Index des noms de personnes
Index des lieux

Sunday, June 19, 2016

[Dissertation] The Jiuquan Tombs: Re-Ordering Art and Ideas on China's Frontier

Clydesdale, Heather

Columbia University


Harrist, Robert E.


The Jiuquan 酒泉 tombs, on the western frontier of China and dated to the third and early fourth centuries, deploy architecture, paintings, and burial goods to redefine space and express new concepts in mortuary art. Constructed over a period of about fifty years, the consistent rendering of distinct areas across these eleven tombs reflects a consensus in the expectations related to commemorating the dead and the division of souls in the burial process.

Aboveground features show that powerful families in Jiuquan disregarded imperial edicts for austere burials. Underground, each tomb features a “screen wall 照壁” that rearranges spatial compositions to situate the celestial realm in an iconic position near the bottom of a tall tower. The front chambers are presented as courtyards under an open sky, surrounded by an estate, farms, pastures and wildernesses. Here, tomb occupants are not portrayed in a grand cosmic setting or lauded as Confucian archetypes; instead they are dynamic agents at the center of the action. Pastoral peoples are displayed within a context of harmonious co-existence and cultural exchange. These images combine to reflect an optimistic outlook that ignores the upheavals in the Chinese heartland. By contrast, the rear chambers show a retreat to traditional styles and subject matters, creating a stillness that reinforces the solemnity of laying the corpse to rest.

Jiuquan’s geographic location and topography made it both stable and prosperous while precipitating contact with migrants from the Chinese heartland, the northern steppes, and the Western Regions. The vibrancy and originality of the tombs at Jiuquan, as well as what they reveal about changes in beliefs, increase appreciation for the role of peripheral zones in shaping Chinese art and history.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Jiuquan at a Crossroads
Chapter I. Locating the Tombs
Chapter II. Descent and Ascent: Corridors and Screen Walls
Chapter III. Mapping the Inner Courtyard and Outer Region
Chapter IV. Positioning the Occupants in a New World Order
Chapter V. Return to Tradition
Chapter VI. The Significance of the Jiuquan Tombs

Monday, June 13, 2016

[Dissertation] Phlegm (tan 痰): Toward a History of Humors in Early Chinese Medicine

Koehle, Natalie Caroline


Harvard University



Advisory Committee: 

Kuijp, Leonard W. van der; Kuriyama, Shigehisa; Gyatso, Janet


This dissertation examines the Chinese conception of phlegm and related body fluids phlegm from the first occurrence of phlegm in Zhang Zhongjing’s 張仲景 (fl. 150-219) Jingui yaolue 金匱要略 through the first extended discussion Wang Gui’s 王桂 (1264-1354) Taiding yangsheng zhulun 泰定養生主論 (1338). Following the conceptual development of phlegm and fluids, the study illustrates one of the most important shifts in postclassical Chinese medicine. That is the transformation of the experience of phlegm from an insignificant water pathology that causes indigestion, to a major pathogen in Chinese medicine that is associated with an astonishing range of symptoms, and external and internal etiologies. The history of phlegm also intersects with another major shift in the history of Chinese medicine that is rise of fire, and the link of fire and emotions that was forged during the early Song dynasty.

In contrast to the current over-emphasis on pneumatic or energetic aspects of the Chinese imagination of the body, this dissertation focuses on the humoral aspects of Chinese medicine. This focus brings into view distinct parallels in the conception, experience, and treatment of fluids in the Chinese, Greek and Indian medical traditions, such as the concern with maintaining flow, and the fear of blockage, stagnation, and misguided flows. For instance, all of these traditions view phlegm as the result of a disturbance in the flow. These parallels in the Chinese, Greek, and Indian conception of humors, therefore, help us to better understand the history of phlegm not only in the history of Chinese medicine, but also in the Indo-European traditions.

The dissertation further sheds light on the history of Sino-Indian and Sino-Persian knowledge transfer, and the influence of Indic and Greek conceptions into Chinese medicine, as it puts forward evidence, which suggests that the similarities between Chinese and Indo-European conceptions of phlegm were due, in part, to historical influences from the Indic and Islamic medical traditions. Āyurvedic conceptions of phlegm reached China through the intermediary of Buddhist translations, where phlegm played an important role in physiology. Islamic medicine was present in the Yuan dynasty, and its concepts show clearly in Wang Gui’s Yuan period treatise.

The dissertation’s focus on fluids also brings into view differences in the conception of matter and the experience of fluid in the Chinese and the Greco-Roman medical traditions. In early Chinese medicine, phlegm and stagnant fluids were associated with lumps and tumorous growth, but not with decay. In the Greco-Roman tradition phlegm and stagnations were feared because of their immediate connection with putrefaction and decay. In early Chinese medicine, phlegm and fluids were diagnosed by signs from within the body, such as the sounds of water, but also the subjective feeling of fullness reported by the patients. In the Greco-Roman tradition, as in Wang Gui’s Yuan period treatise, phlegm was diagnosed through the examination of the patients’ outflows.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Between Rome and China: History, Religions and Material Culture of the Silk Road

S. N.C. Lieu, G. Mikkelsen

Publication Date:

Brepols Publishers


This book contains a key study on sericulture as well as on the conduct of the trade in silk between China and the Roman Near East using archaeological and literary evidence.

The eight studies in this volume by established and emerging scholars range geographically and chronologically from the Greek Kingdom of Bactria of the 2nd century BCE to the Uighur Kingdoms of Karabalgasun in Mongolia and Qočo in Xinjiang of the 8th-9th centuries CE. 

It contains a key study on sericulture as well on the conduct of the trade in silk between China and the Roman Near East using archaeological as well as literary evidence. Other topics covered include Sogdian religious art, the role of Manichaeism as a Silk Road religion par excellence, the enigmatic names for the Roman Empire in Chinese sources and a multi-lingual gazetteer of place- and ethnic names in Pre-Islamic Central Asia which will be an essential reference tool for researchers. The volume also contains an author and title index to all the Silk Road Studies volumes published up to 2014. The broad ranging theme covered by this volume should appeal to a wider public fascinated by the history of the Silk Road and wishing to be informed of the latest state of research. Because of the centrality of the topics covered by this study, the volume could serve as a basic reading text for university courses on the history of the Silk Road.

Table of Contents

    Greeks, Iranians and Chinese on the Silk Road                

    Palestine, Syria and the Silk Road                          

     Manichaeism on the Silk Road: Its Rise, Flourishing and Decay      

    Chang’an – China’s Gateway to the Silk Road   

    Religious Convergence in Sogdian Funerary Art from Sixth-Century North 

    Da Qin 大秦 and Fulin 拂林 – the Chinese Names for Rome   
    Places and Peoples in Central Asia and in the Graeco-Roman 
    Near East – A Multilingual Gazetteer from Select Pre-Islamic Sources             

    Some Thoughts on Manichaean Architecture and its Application  in the 
    Eastern Uighur Khaganate

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Reconstructing Ancient Korean History: The Formation of Korean-ness in the Shadow of History


Publication Date:
2016 May 

Rowman & Littlefield


This book examines the contested re-readings of “Korea” in early Chinese historical records and their influence on the formation of Korean-ness in later periods. The earliest written records on “Koreans” are found in Chinese documents produced during the Han dynasty, from the third century BCE to the third century CE. Since then, these early Chinese records have been used as primary sources for writing early Korean history in Korea, China, and Japan. 

This study analyzes the various reinterpretations and utilizations of these early records that became more diverse by the late nineteenth century, when the reconstruction of ancient history became a crucial part of the formation of Korean national consciousness. Korea’s modern historiography was complicated by a thirty-five year colonial experience (1910–1945) under Japan. During this period, Japanese colonial scholars attempted to depict Korean history as stagnant, heteronymous, and replete with factional strife, while Korean nationalist historians strove to construct an indigenous Korean nation in order to mobilize Koreans’ national consciousness and recover political sovereignty. 

While focused on Korea and Northeast Asia, the links between historiography and political ideology investigated in this study are pertinent to historians in general.

Table of Contents:


Chapter 1: From Others to Barbarians: The Conceptualization and Evolution of Yi 夷

Chapter 2: Negotiating the Past, Reinterpreting Ancient History: Legitimacy in the Lineage of Ancient Korean History

Chapter 3: Ancient History Reinvented: Another Battleground for National Prestige and Political Legitimacy 

Chapter 4: From a Marxist Universal History to an Ultra-Nationalist Approach: Studies on Ancient History in North Korea

Chapter 5: In the Name of History: Laying Claim to the Historical Sovereignty of Manchuria (Northeast China)

Conclusion: Living with the Legacy of the Past

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

[Dissertation] Toxic Cures: Poisons and Medicines in Medieval China

Liu, Yan 劉焱


Harvard University



Advisory Committee: 

Shigehisa Kuriyama; Katharine Park; James Robson


This dissertation explores the medicinal use of poisons in China from the third to the tenth century, which is when the major outlines of Chinese toxicological thought took shape. Challenging a widespread view that contrasts the benign naturalness of Chinese herbal remedies with the dangerous side effects of Western synthetic drugs, my research highlights the centrality of poisons to the practice and theory of medicine in China. Chinese doctors regularly relied on a large number of substances that they recognized as toxic to combat sickness, and identified toxicity as the central pillar for the classification of drugs. I argue that the boundary between poisons and medicines was always hazy in medieval China; it was not the substance itself, but how it was used and experienced that mattered.

To examine this crucial yet ignored feature of Chinese medicine, my dissertation develops the following themes. The first is that drugs in medieval China were not fixed entities with unique effects. The effect of a given substance—whether it healed as a medicine, or sickened or killed as a poison, or altered a person in myriad other ways—varied both with usage and with processing. Subsequently, Chinese doctors developed a variety of techniques (the dosage, the drug combination, and the drug preparation) to mitigate the toxicity of a poison while preserving its therapeutic potency. 

Secondly, I highlight the intimate relation between bodily experience and the understanding of poisons. By studying the alchemical practice of ingesting toxic minerals, I show that the violent bodily effects induced by these substances were often perceived as confirmations of efficacy rather than worrying signs of pathology. 

My third theme is the circulation of toxicological knowledge across geographical and social domains. I argue that standardized textual knowledge propagated by the state was fluidly transformed in practice, contingent upon the availability of pharmacological ingredients and the needs of local people. 

Finally, I turn to non-poisons, especially foods, in Chinese pharmacy, and identify a distinctive character of Chinese medicine—the ingestion of mild substances to nourish the body and prolong life. Chinese medicine thus developed through the interaction of two related, but distinct enterprises—the fight against sickness, and the quest for ever-enhanced vitality.