By R.E. Strassberg
A chinese language Bestiary offers a desirable competition of legendary creatures from a special and enduring cosmography written in old China. The Guideways via Mountains and Seas, compiled among the fourth and primary centuries b.c.e., comprises descriptions of 1000's of wonderful denizens of mountains, rivers, islands, and seas, in addition to minerals, vegetation, and drugs. The textual content additionally represents quite a lot of ideals held by means of the traditional chinese language. Richard Strassberg brings the Guideways to lifestyles for contemporary readers by means of 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 resourceful global of early China.Unlike 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 real entities came upon in the course of the panorama. The paintings was once initially used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for tourists, and as a booklet of omens. this present day, it's considered as the richest repository of historical 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, and so they supply a superb instance of the chinese language engraver's paintings in the course of the past due Ming dynasty.This attractive quantity, compiled by means of a widely known expert within the box, presents a desirable window at the innovations and ideology of an old humans, and should satisfaction experts and common readers alike.
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Additional info for A Chinese Bestiary
You Mao (1127–1193), a bibliophile who published the earliest surviving edition through a local government printing house (fig. 76 Previously, the scholar Yan Zhitui (531–c. 591) had recognized that the text contained place-names that could not have predated the Han dynasty. 77 You was perhaps the first scholar to express doubts about Yu’s authorship in print. Not only did he believe that the Guideways was mostly compiled sometime just before the Qin period, but he voiced a new, historical appreciation of it.
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. 82 During the early part of the Ming, editions were sponsored by the o‹cial Directorate of Education and circulated in handwritten copies as well as in a new printing of the Daoist Canon (c. 1444–45). These largely continued the interests of Song scholasticism and simply reprinted Guo Pu’s commentary. It was not until the middle of the sixteenth century, however, that another revival of interest in the book began that continued through the Qing dynasty and into the modern period.
Unfortunately, there is so far no clear indication of what precise form the text took during the Zhou dynasty, and there are no direct references to it among the other early surviving texts, despite instances of similar content. e. that it was mentioned by name and began to be edited into the form we now know. READINGS OF THE TEXT The first recorded reference to the Guideways is an unsympathetic one by the Grand Historian Sima Qian (c. 145–c. ) in his Historical Records (c. ). Notably opposed to the influence of wu-shamans and their culture, he compared the book’s data on the origin of the Yellow River with the report of the Chinese emissary Zhang Qian (d.