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In ancient China, the preparation of food and the offering up of food as a religious sacrifice were intimately connected with models of sagehood and ideas of self-cultivation and morality. Drawing on received and newly excavated written sources, Roel Sterckx's book explores how this vibrant culture influenced the ways in which the early Chinese explained the workings of the human senses, and the role of sensory experience in communicating with the spirit world. The book, which begins with a survey of dietary culture from the Zhou to the Han and offers some intriguing insights into the ritual preparation of food – some butchers and cooks were highly regarded and would rise to positions of influence as a result of their culinary skills – and the sacrificial ceremony itself. As a major contribution to the study of early China and to the development of philosophical thought, the book will be essential reading for students of the period, and for anyone interested in ritual and religion in the ancient world.Read more
- Through intricate research into textual sources, affords fascinating insights into food sacrifice and ritual in early China
- Casts fresh light on the earliest centuries in Chinese history to show how the preparation of food was connected to ideas about governance and morality
- A major and original contribution to Chinese history, religion and philosophy
Reviews & endorsements
"Through a comprehensive examination of ancient Chinese writings on the importance of food in culminating personal value, administrating the state, achieving the sagehood, and offerings for the spirits, Food, Sacrifice, and Sagehood in Early China probes into the heart of China's religious culture and provides an inspiring study that deftly uncovers the complex associations between culinary art and ritual culture in early China."
Hang Lin, Asian EthnologySee more reviews
"… on matters of food, ritual, and sacrifice the details offered in this book provide many useful insights."
Bob Trubshaw, Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture
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- Date Published: March 2011
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107001718
- length: 248 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.5kg
- contains: 9 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Customs and cuisine
2. Cooking the world
3. Sacrifice and sense
4. The economics of sacrifice
5. Sages, spirits, and senses.
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