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Astrology and Cosmology in Early China
Conforming Earth to Heaven

$135.00 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107006720

$135.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The ancient Chinese were profoundly influenced by the Sun, Moon and stars, making persistent efforts to mirror astral phenomena in shaping their civilization. In this pioneering text, David W. Pankenier introduces readers to a seriously understudied field, illustrating how astronomy shaped the culture of China from the very beginning and how it influenced areas as disparate as art, architecture, calendrical science, myth, technology, and political and military decision-making. As elsewhere in the ancient world, there was no positive distinction between astronomy and astrology in ancient China, and so astrology, or more precisely, astral omenology, is a principal focus of the book. Drawing on a broad range of sources, including archaeological discoveries, classical texts, inscriptions and paleography, this thought-provoking book documents the role of astronomical phenomena in the development of the 'Celestial Empire' from the late Neolithic through the late imperial period.

    • A revolutionary approach to understanding Chinese history and civilization
    • Introduces readers to a seriously understudied field, explaining how astronomy shaped the culture and social organization of ancient China
    • Draws on a formidable array of sources and scholarship, ranging from classical texts to archaeology to astronomy
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107006720
    • length: 616 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 33 mm
    • weight: 0.99kg
    • contains: 138 b/w illus. 6 maps 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Astronomy and Cosmology in the Time of Dragons:
    1. Astronomy begins at Taosi
    2. Watching for dragons
    Part II. Aligning with Heaven:
    3. Looking to the supernal lord
    4. Bringing heaven down to earth
    5. Astral revelation and the origins of writing
    Part III. Planetary Omens and Cosmic Ideology:
    6. The cosmo-political mandate
    7. The rhetoric of the supernal
    8. Cosmology and the calendar
    Part IV. Warring States and Han Astral Portentology:
    9. Astral prognostication and the battle of Chengpu
    10. A new astrological paradigm
    Part V. One with the Sky:
    11. Cosmic capitals
    12. Temporality and the fabric of space-time
    13. The sky river and cosmography
    14. Planetary portentology east and west
    Appendix. Astrology for an empire: the 'treatise on the celestial offices' in The Grand Scribe's Records (c.100 BCE)

  • Author

    David W. Pankenier, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania
    David W. Pankenier is Professor of Chinese at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania. His current research interests range from the history of ideas in early China, to archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy. He is particularly interested in the connection between rare astronomical phenomena and epoch-making political and military events in ancient China.

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