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Look Inside Divination, Mythology and Monarchy in Han China

Divination, Mythology and Monarchy in Han China


Part of University of Cambridge Oriental Publications

  • Date Published: February 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521052207

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About the Authors
  • Chinese empires were established by force of arms, but sustained by religious rites and intellectual theory. The four centuries from 206 BC to AD 220 witnessed major changes in the state cults and the concepts of monarchy, while various techniques of divination were used to forecast the future or to solve immediate problems. Michael Loewe examines these changes and the links between religion and statecraft. While both mythology and the traditions nurtured by the learned affected the concept and practice of monarchy throughout the period, the political and social weaknesses of the last century of Han rule bring into question the success that was achieved by the imperial ideal. Nevertheless, that ideal and its institutions were of prime importance for the understanding of Han times and for the influence they exercised on China's later dynasties.

    • An original study on the types of divination and the concept of sovereignty in the Han dynasty
    • An interdisciplinary potential: oriental studies, religious studies, anthropology
    • Michael Loewe is a distinguished scholar in the field who has published several times with the Press
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521052207
    • length: 376 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of abbreviations
    Introduction: the history of the early empires
    1. Man and beast: the hybrid in early Chinese art and literature
    2. Water, earth and fire: the symbols of the Han dynasty
    3. The Han view of comets
    4. The authority of the emperors of Ch'in and Han
    5. The term K'an-yü and the choice of the moment
    6. Imperial sovereignty: Tung Chung-shu's contribution and his predecessors
    7. The cult of the dragon and the invocation for rain
    8. Divination by shells, bones and stalks during the Han period
    9. The oracles of the clouds and the winds
    10. The Almanacs (Jih-shu) from Shui-hu-ti: a preliminary survey
    11. The Chüeh-ti games: a re-enactment of the battle between Ch'ih-yu and Hsüan-yüan?
    12. The failure of the Confucian ethic in Later Han times
    13. The imperial tombs of the Former Han dynasty and their shrines
    List of Han emperors

  • Author

    Michael Loewe, University of Cambridge

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