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New PDF release: A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways

By Richard E. Strassberg

ISBN-10: 0520218442

ISBN-13: 9780520218444

Seventy six b/w plates, 37 b/w illustrations A chinese language Bestiary offers a desirable festival of legendary creatures from a distinct and enduring cosmography written in old China. The Guideways via Mountains and Seas, compiled among the fourth and primary centuries b.c.e., comprises descriptions of enormous quantities of wonderful denizens of mountains, rivers, islands, and seas, besides minerals, flowers, and medication. The textual content additionally represents quite a lot of ideals held via the traditional chinese language. Richard Strassberg brings the Guideways to existence for contemporary readers via weaving jointly translations from the paintings itself with details from different texts and up to date archaeological unearths to create a lavishly illustrated consultant to the resourceful global of early China. in contrast to the bestiaries of the past due medieval interval in Europe, the Guideways used to be now not interpreted allegorically; the unfamiliar beings defined in it have been considered as genuine entities stumbled on during the panorama. The paintings used to be initially used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for tourists, and as a ebook of omens. at the present time, it's considered as the richest repository of historic chinese language mythology and shamanistic knowledge. The Guideways can have been illustrated from the beginning, however the earliest surviving illustrations are woodblock engravings from a unprecedented 1597 variation. Seventy-six of these plates are reproduced the following for the 1st time, they usually offer an excellent instance of the chinese language engraver's artwork in the course of the past due Ming dynasty. this gorgeous quantity, compiled through a widely known expert within the box, offers a desirable window at the concepts and ideology of an historical humans, and may satisfaction experts and basic readers alike.

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Additional info for A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas

Example text

He may have stitched together several separate cosmographies into one book, noted variant versions of these texts, reorganized the chapters, and perhaps interpolated additional material. In addition, he probably translated the ancient graphs from their archaic styles into the simpler, more standardized calligraphic forms that had evolved during the Han dynasty. 58 Some decades later during the Eastern Han, a scholar whom one might have expected to express some reservations about the fabrications in the Guideways was the iconoclastic thinker Wang Chong (27–c.

In the face of relentless political hostility from o‹cials, the wu were finally legally proscribed from becoming o‹cials themselves, and henceforth the government sought to confine them, though not always successfully, to a substratum of the popular culture. Finally, the new, more universalistic religions of Daoism and Buddhism, with their superior magical techniques, organized priesthoods, and sacred texts, were beginning to spread among all classes. 40 These works sought to organize diverse information about the world in an e ort to define a more systematic pattern of totality as a model for a centrally unified China.

After blending with things, no anxieties should remain; After metamorphosing, all one’s regrets should flee. In vain do they cling to their hearts from the past. 71 Such individualistic responses by the poet eschewed the hermeneutics of the scholarly commentator in favor of an escape to an exotic world full of amazement whose strange creatures could stimulate the creative imagination. 72 Following the success of Guo Pu’s edition, no new commentaries were written for more than a thousand years. Nevertheless, the text continued to circulate at imperial courts as well as among scholars, Daoists, and various other kinds of occult practitioners 1 8 I N T R O D U C T I O N F I G U R E 3 .

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A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas by Richard E. Strassberg


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