A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways by Richard E. Strassberg

By Richard E. Strassberg

Seventy six b/w plates, 37 b/w illustrations A chinese language Bestiary offers a desirable competition of legendary creatures from a distinct and enduring cosmography written in historical China. The Guideways via Mountains and Seas, compiled among the fourth and primary centuries b.c.e., includes descriptions of 1000s of amazing denizens of mountains, rivers, islands, and seas, in addition to minerals, flowers, and drugs. The textual content additionally represents quite a lot of ideals held via the traditional chinese language. Richard Strassberg brings the Guideways to lifestyles for contemporary readers through weaving jointly translations from the paintings itself with info from different texts and up to date archaeological unearths to create a lavishly illustrated consultant to the inventive international of early China. in contrast to the bestiaries of the past due medieval interval in Europe, the Guideways was once no longer interpreted allegorically; the unknown creatures defined in it have been considered as genuine entities chanced on in the course of the panorama. The paintings used to be initially used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for tourists, and as a ebook of omens. this day, it's considered as the richest repository of old chinese language mythology and shamanistic knowledge. The Guideways could have been illustrated from the beginning, however the earliest surviving illustrations are woodblock engravings from an extraordinary 1597 version. Seventy-six of these plates are reproduced the following for the 1st time, they usually offer an outstanding instance of the chinese language engraver's paintings throughout the overdue Ming dynasty. this gorgeous quantity, compiled via a well known expert within the box, presents a desirable window at the concepts and ideology of an historic humans, and may satisfaction experts and normal readers alike.

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Extra resources for A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas

Example text

Many of the Warring States texts that we have today passed through his hands and were substantially edited by him. As a leader in an intellectual and political faction among scholars later called the “Ancient-Text School,” he and his associates challenged those in the so-called “New-Text School,” whose cultural authority was more dependent on oral traditions and on other, later texts. e. ) short-lived Xin dynasty in which Liu Xin and the Ancient-Text partisans played a major ideological role. e.

The original caption in Latin states: “Men fifteen feet high and ten broad, who have ears like winnowing fans: at night they lie on one and cover themselves with the other. Their bodies are milk-white. At sight of a man they spread out their ears and flee swiftly” (James [1929], 57). They can be compared to the People Who Hold Up Their Ears [no. 246] and the Pendant-Ears People [no. 328]. 83v. and the Pendant-Ears People [no. 328]. Similarly, there are also people with a single leg, men with dog’s heads, a headless people with faces on their torsos, and people whose heels are reversed.

47 Painted scrolls with extensive colophons that survive from the Six Dynasties period indicate that records were kept of such peoples, including images of their appearance, a practice that may have begun much earlier (see fig. 14, page 56). 48 The sections of the Guideways on foreign peoples, though containing much that is fantastic, record information that also appears in these and other early sources as well. Last, the Guideways can be related to an important group of texts that lie somewhat outside the mainstream of those mentioned above.

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