公告

[公告] 「港台學術資訊」不是我的微博

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Good Son Is Sad if He Hears the Name of His Father: The Tabooing of Names in China as a Way of Implementing Social Values

Author:
Piotr Adamek

Publisher:
Sankt Augustin, Germany : Institut Monumenta Serica

Publication Date:
2015. 9.30




Abstract:

When in 1775 the scholar Wang Xihou 王錫侯 compiled a dictionary called Ziguan 字貫, he wrote, for illustrative purposes, the personal names of Confucius and the three emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong in the introduction. In oversight, he recorded their complete names. This accidental writing of a few names was condemned by Emperor Qianlong as an unprecedented crime, rebellion and high treason. Wang Xihou was executed, his property confiscated and his books were burnt. His family was arrested and his sons and grandsons were killed or sent as slaves to Heilongjiang. 

It is surprising what an enormous impact the tabooing of names (bihui 避諱) had on Chinese culture. The names of sovereigns, ancestors, officials, teachers, and even friends were all considered taboo, in other words it was prohibited to pronounce them or to record them in writing. In numerous cases characters identical or similar in writing or pronunciation were often avoided as well. The tabooing of names was observed in the family and on the street, in the office and in the emperor’s palace. The practice of bihui had serious consequences for the daily lives of the Chinese and for Chinese historiography. People even avoided certain places and things, and refused to accept offices. They were punished and sometimes even killed in connection with the tabooing of names. The bihui custom existed as an important element of Chinese culture and was perceived as significant by Chinese and foreigners alike. It was crucial for implementing social values and demonstrating the political hierarchy. 

The present work A Good Son Is Sad if He Hears the Name of His Father is a systematic study of Chinese name-tabooing customs, which until now have been relatively little explored in Western-language Sinological studies. It attempts to provide a long-term perspective on the changing dynamics of tabooing and elucidates various aspects related to the fascinating topic of tabooing of names.

Table of Contents:

Chapter One: Introduction

Chapter Two: Taboo and Name

Chapter Three: Basic Characteristics of Name Tabooing

Chapter Four: Beginnings of the Custom of Name Taboo in China

Chapter Five: Name Tabooing from the Han to Southern and Northern Dynasties

Chapter Six: Culmination of the Custom of Name Taboo

Chapter Seven: Last Centuries of Name Tabooing

Chapter Eight: Consequences of Name Taboo for Chinese People

Chapter Nine: Historiographical Consequences and the Basics of the Discipline of Name Tabooing

Chapter Ten: Special Topics of Name Tabooing

Bibliography

Chronological Index of Taboo Names of Emperors and Other Famous Persons

Alphabetical Index of Taboo Characters

Table: Confucian Officials Executed for Taboo Mistakes 

2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a very interesting book! Thank you for letting us know about it. Just one correction: the author's name is Piotr Adamek. Sankt Augustin is the place of publication.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, Thank you for your correction!

    ReplyDelete