Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Mullins, Daniel Austin Hoyer, Daniel Collins, Christina Currie, Thomas Feeney, Kevin François, Pieter Savage, Patrick E. Whitehouse, Harvey and Turchin, Peter 2018. A Systematic Assessment of “Axial Age” Proposals Using Global Comparative Historical Evidence. American Sociological Review, Vol. 83, Issue. 3, p. 596.

  • Print publication year: 1986
  • Online publication date: March 2008

12 - The religious and intellectual background

Many studies of Chinese thought tend to concentrate on the growth of what are regarded as the three major schools of Confucianism, Legalism, and Taoism. These terms should be used with care, particularly for the four centuries of Ch'in and Han, when major developments were taking place. Some Ch'in and Han thinkers laid deep stress on the need to organize the life and work of mankind by means of sanctions and institutions, with the specific intention of enriching and strengthening the state. Chinese mythology alludes to the emergence and work of culture heroes. The peoples of the Ch'in and Han age inherited from their forbears the worship of a number of deities. The relationship between Buddhism and Taoist religion came to be complex. The importance of music had been recognized by the designation of one text as the Yueh-ching, now long lost.
Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

The Cambridge History of China
  • Online ISBN: 9781139054737
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
Allan, Sarah. The heir and the sage: Dynastic legend in early China. San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center, 1981.
Ames, Roger T. The art of ruler ship: A study in ancient Chinese political thought. Honolulu: Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1983.
Balazs, Étienne. “Political philosophy and social crisis at the end of the Han dynasty.” In his Chinese civilization and bureaucracy: Variations on a theme, trans. Wright, H. M., ed. Wright, Arthur F.. New Haven and London: Yale Univ. Press, 1964.
Bielenstein, Hans. The bureaucracy of Han times. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1980. [abbreviation: Bureaucracy]
Bielenstein, Hans. “An interpretation of the portents of the Ts'ien-Han-shu.Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 22 (1950). [abbreviation: “Portents”]
Bielenstein, Hans. “Lo-yang in Later Han times.Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 48 (1976). [abbreviation: “Lo-yang”]
Bodde, Derk. “The Chinese cosmic magic known as watching for the ethers.” In Studia Serica Bemhard Karlgren dedicate eds. Egerod, Søren and Glahn, Else. Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard, 1959. [abbreviation: “Chinese cosmic magic”]
Bodde, Derk. Festivals in classical China: New Year and other annual observances during the Han dynasty, 206 B.C.–A.D. 220. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, and Hong Kong: Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong, 1975. [abbreviation: Festivals]
Chan, Wing-tsit. A source book in Chinese philosophy. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press; London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963.
Chang, Cheng-lang. “Shih shih Chou ch'u ch'ing-t'ung ch'i ming-wen chung ti i kua”. Kaogu xuebao (K'ao-ku hsüeh-pao), 1980.4.
Chang, ya-ch'u, and , Liu Yü.Ts'ung Shang Chou pa-kua shutzu fu-hao t'an shih-fa ti chi ko wen-t'iKaogu (formerly K'ao-ku t'ung-hs¨n), 1981.2.
Chang, K. C. Art, myth and ritual: The path to political authority in ancient China. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1983.
Chang, Kwang-chih. Early Chinese civilization: Anthropological perspectives. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1976.
Chavannes, Édouard. Les Mémoires Historiques de Se-Ma Ts'ien. Vol. I–V. Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1895–1905; rpt. Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1969. Vol. VI. Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1969. [abbreviation: Mémoires historiques (see Chavannes, )]
Chavannes, Édouard. Le T' ai chan. Paris: Annales du Musée Guimet, 1910.
Cheng, Te-k'un. “Yin-yang wu-hsing and Han art.” HJAS, 20 (1957).
Creel, Herrlee G. The origins of statecraft in China. Vol. I. The Western Chou empire. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1970.
Cullen, Christopher. “Joseph Needham on Chinese astronomy.” Past and present, 87 (May 1980).
de Bary, William Theodore, Chan, Wing-tsit, and Watson, Burton. Sources of Chinese tradition. 2 vols. New York and London: Columbia Univ. Press, 1960.
de Crespigny, Rafe. Portents of protest in the Later Han dynasty: The memorials of Hsiang K'ai to Emperor Huan. Canberra: Australia National Univ. Press, 1976. [abbreviation: Portents of protest]
Dubs, Homer H. The History of the Former Han dynasty. 3 vols. Baltimore: Waverly Press, 1938–55. [abbreviation: HFHD]
Dubs, Homer H. The works of Hsüntze. London: Probsthain, 1928.
Duyvendak, Jan Julius Lodewijk. The hook of Lard Shang: A classic of the Chinese school of law. London: Arthur Probsthain, 1928; rpt., London: Unesco's collection of representative works, Chinese Series, 1963.
Eberhard, Wolfram. “The political function of astronomy and astronomers in Han China.” In Chinese thought and institutions, ed. Fairbank, John K.. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1957.
Finsterbusch, Käte. Verzeichnis und Motivindex der Han-Darstellungen. 2 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1966, 1971.
Freedman, Maurice. Lineage organization in southeastern China. London: Univ. of London, Athlone Press, 1958.
Fung, Yu-lan. A history of Chinese philosophy, trans. Bodde, Derk. 2 vols. London: George Allen and Unwin; Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1952. Translation of Yu-lan, Feng. Chung-kuo che-hsüeh shih. 2 vols. Ch'ang-sha: Shang-wu Yin-shu-kuan, 1934.
Graham, A. C. The Book of Lieh-tzu. London: John Murray, 1960.
Graham, A. C. Chuang-tzu: The seven inner chapters and other writings from the book Chuang-tzu. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1981.
Harper, Donald J.The Han cosmic board.” Early China, 4 (1978–79).
Hawkes, David. Ch'u Tz'u: The songs of the south. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. [abbreviation: Songs of the south]
Hayashi, Minao. Kandai no bunbutsu. Kyoto: Kyōto Daigaku Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyūjo, 1976.
Hsü, Fu-kuan Liang Han ssu-hsiang shih. Taipei: T'ai-wan Hsüeh-sheng Shu-chü, 1976.
Hsiao, Kung-chuan. A history of Chinese political thought. Vol. 1. From the beginnings to the sixth century A.D., trans. Mote, Frederick W.. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1979.
Hulsewé, A. F. P. Remnants of Han law. Vol. I. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1955. [abbreviation: Remnants]
Hulsewé, A. F. P.Watching the vapours: An ancient Chinese technique of prognostication.” Nachrichten der Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens/Hamburg, 125 (1979).
Hulsewé, A. F. P.Zur Frage nach der Methode der chinesischen Historiographen.” Orientalistische Literatur Zeitung, 53: (1958).
Jan, Yün-hua. “The silk manuscripts on Taoism.” T'oung Pao, 63 (1977).
Jan, Yün-hua. “Tao, principle and law: The three key concepts in the Yellow Emperor Taoism.” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 7: 3 (1980).
Kaltenmark, Max Lao Tzu and Taoism, trans. Greaves, Robert (Stanford, Calif., 1969).
Karlgren, BernhardThe Book of documents’, Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 22 (1950).
Karlgren, Bernhard. “Excursions in Chinese grammar.” Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 23 (1951).
Keightley, David N. Sources of Skang history: The oracle-bone inscriptions of bronze age China. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: Univ. of Calif. Press, 1978.
K'o, Yüan Chung-kuo ku-tai shen-hua (Shanghai, 1951).
Lau, D. C. Lao tzu: Tao te ching. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1963.
Lau, D. C. Mencius. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1970.
Le Blanc, Charles. “The idea of resonance (kan-ying) in the Huai-nan-tzu, with a translation and analysis of Chapter 6.” Diss. Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1978.
Lien-yün-kang, shih po-wu-kuan. “Lien-yün-kang shih K'ungwang-shan mo-ai tsao-hsiang tiao-ch'a pao-kao”. Wenwu (formerly Wen-tuu ts'an-k'ao tzu-liao), 1981.7.
Loewe, Michael. Chinese ideas of life and death: Faith, myth and reason in the Han period (202 B.C.–A.D. 220). London: George Allen and Unwin, 1982. [abbreviation: Ideas of life and death]
Loewe, Michael. Crisis and conflict in Han China. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1974. [abbreviation Crisis and conflict]
Loewe, Michael. “The Han view of comets.” Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 52 (1980).
Loewe, Michael. “Man and beast: The hybrid in early Chinese art and literature.” Numen, 25: 2 (1978). [abbreviation: “Man and beast”]
Loewe, Michael. “Manuscripts found recently in China: A preliminary survey.T'oung Pao, 63: (1977). [abbreviation: “Manuscripts”]
Loewe, Michael. Records of Han administration. 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1967. [abbreviation: Records]
Loewe, Michael. Ways to paradise: The Chinese quest for immortality. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1979.
Ma-wang-tuihsiao-tsu, Han mu po-shu cheng-li. “Ma-wang-tui po-shu ‘Liushih-ssu kua’ shih-wen”. Wenwu (formerly Wen-tuu ts'an-k'ao tzu-liao), 1984.3.
Major, John S.Topography and cosmology in early Han thought: Chapter four of the Huai-nan-tzu.” Diss. Harvard Univ., 1973.
Maspero, Henri Taoism and Chinese religion, trans. Kierman, Frank A. Jr. (Amherst, Mass., 1981).
Maspero, Henri. “Les instruments astronomiques des Chinois au temps des Han.” In Mélanges chinois et bouddhiques, Vol. VI. Brussels: Institut Beige des Hautes Études Chinoises, 1939.
Mathieu, Rémi. Étude sur la mythologie et l'ethnologic de la Chine ancienne. Traduction annotée du Shanhai jing. 2 vols. Paris: Collége de France, Institut des Hautes Études Chinoises, 1983.
Needham, Joseph, et al. Science and civilisation in China. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1954–. [abbreviation: SCC, or Science and civilisation]
Nishikawa, Yasuji. “Kanjo ni okeru Kōrō shisō no ichi sokumen”. Tōhōgaku, 62 (1981).
Pu, Lien-sheng. “K'ung-wang-shan Tung-Han mo-ai fo-chiao tsaohsiang ch'u pien”. Wenwu (formerly Wen-tuu ts'an-k'ao tzu-liao), 1982.9.
Salmony, Albert. Antler and tongue: An essay on ancient Chinese symbolism. Ascona: Artibus Asiae, 1954.
Shan-tung, sheng po-wu-kuan, and yen-chiu-so, Shan-tung sheng wen-wu k'ao-ku, eds. Shan-tung Han hua-hsiangshih hsüan-chi. [Chi-nan]: Ch'i-lu Shu-she, 1982.
Shchutskii, Julian K. Researches on the I ching. London and Henley: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980.
Sivin, Nathan. “Cosmos and computation in early Chinese mathematical astronomy.” T'oung Pao, 55: 1–3 (1969).
Swann, Nancy Lee. Food and money in ancient China. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1950.
Tjan, Tjoe Som. Po hu t'ung: The comprehensive discussions in the White Tiger Hall. 2 vols. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1949, 1952.
Tsien, Tsuen-hsuin. Written on bamboo and silk: The beginnings of Chinese books and inscriptions. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1962.
van der Loon, P.On the transmission of Kuan-tzu.” T'oung Pao, 41: 4–5 (1952)
Vandermeersch, Léon. La formation du légisme. Paris: École Fran¸hise d'Extrême-Orient, 1965.
Waley, Arthur. The nine songs: A study of shamanism in ancient China. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1955.
Waley, Arthur. Three ways of thought in ancient China. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1946.
Wang, Zhongshu. Han civilization, trans. Chang, K. C. et al. New Haven and London: Yale Univ. Press, 1982.
Wilhelm, Hellmut. Change: Eight lectures on the I ching. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1973; London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975.
Wilhelm, Hellmut. Heaven, earth and man in the Book of changes. Seattle and London: Univ. of Washington Press, 1977.
, Hao-liang. “Ch'in chien ‘jih shu’ chi shih chi yüeh chu wen-t'i”. In Yūn-meng Ch'in chien yen-chiu, ed. pien-chi-pu, Chung-hua Shu-chü. Peking: Chung-hua Shu-chü, 1981, PP..
, Ying-shih. “Life and immortality in the mind of Han China.Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 25 (1964–65).
, Ying-shih. Trade and expansion in Han China: A study in the structure of Sino-barbarian economic relations Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1967. [abbreviation: Trade and expansion]
Yün-meng, Shui-hu-ti Ch'in mu pien-hsieh tsu. Yün-meng Shui-hu-ti Ch'in mu Peking: Wen-wu Ch'u-pan-she, 1981.
Yang, K'uan. “Hsien Ch'in mu shang chien-chu wen-t'i ti tsai t'an-t'ao”. Kaogu (formerly K'ao-ku t'ung-hs¨n), 1983.7.
Zürcher, E. The Buddhist conquest of China 2 vols. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1959. [abbreviation: Buddhist conquest]