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 special 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 enormous quantities of wonderful denizens of mountains, rivers, islands, and seas, besides minerals, vegetation, and drugs. The textual content additionally represents a variety of ideals held by way of the traditional chinese language. Richard Strassberg brings the Guideways to lifestyles for contemporary readers through weaving jointly translations from the paintings itself with details from different texts and up to date archaeological unearths to create a lavishly illustrated advisor to the ingenious international of early China. in contrast to the bestiaries of the past due medieval interval in Europe, the Guideways was once now not interpreted allegorically; the unknown creatures defined in it have been considered as genuine entities came across in the course of the panorama. The paintings was once initially used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for tourists, and as a publication of omens. at the present time, it really is 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 a unprecedented 1597 variation. Seventy-six of these plates are reproduced right here for the 1st time, they usually offer a great instance of the chinese language engraver's paintings through the overdue Ming dynasty. this pretty quantity, compiled by way of a widely known professional within the box, offers a desirable window at the recommendations and ideology of an historic humans, and should satisfaction experts and normal readers alike.
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Additional resources for A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas
For, how can one completely describe the vastness of the universe, the abundant forms of life, the benevolent sustenance of yin and yang, the myriad distinctions between things, the admixture of essences bubbling over in conflict, wandering souls and strange divinities who take on form, migrate to mountains and rivers, and adopt beautiful appearances as trees and rocks? Yet, Coordinating their diverse tendencies, they resonate as a single echo: Perfecting their transformations, they blend into one image.
The early Daoists of the Master Zhuang (Zhuangzi, late 3rd–1st cent. e) refashioned mythology in literary fables to argue for impersonal natural laws and mystical approaches to statecraft. Later scholars of the Ru-Confucian school not only followed Confucius in distancing themselves from discussing strange phenomena, but, as in the case of Xun Qing (c. 335–c. ), they were also skeptical of those who claimed to know the workings of heaven. 37 Even in the field of medicine long dominated by herbal and exorcistic methods, new concepts of the body and management of disease began to be practiced.
He may have stitched together several separate cosmographies into one book, noted variant versions of these texts, reorganized the chapters, and perhaps interpolated additional material. In addition, he probably translated the ancient graphs from their archaic styles into the simpler, more standardized calligraphic forms that had evolved during the Han dynasty. 58 Some decades later during the Eastern Han, a scholar whom one might have expected to express some reservations about the fabrications in the Guideways was the iconoclastic thinker Wang Chong (27–c.
A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas by Richard E. Strassberg