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A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization
     

A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization

5.0 4
by Brian Griffith
 

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ForeWord Reviews Mother’s Day Staff Pick: “Books Mom Will Love”

“A valuable historical reference guide.” —Publishers Weekly

“This is a very ambitious and timely book, a book that many historians, literary theorists and story tellers who care about China and its “Other Half of the

Overview


ForeWord Reviews Mother’s Day Staff Pick: “Books Mom Will Love”

“A valuable historical reference guide.” —Publishers Weekly

“This is a very ambitious and timely book, a book that many historians, literary theorists and story tellers who care about China and its “Other Half of the Sky” want to write, but Brian Griffith did it first, with such scope, ease and fun.” —WANG PING, author of The Last Communist Virgin and Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China

“This book is a most engaging and entertaining read, and the depth of its scholarship is astounding. Griffith vividly describes the counterculture of Chinese goddesses, shows that their fascinating stories are alive and active today, and points us toward a more inclusive and caring partnership future.” —RIANE EISLER, author of The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics and The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future

Touching on the whole story of China—from Neolithic villages to a globalized Shanghai—this book ties mythology, archaeology, history, religion, folklore, literature, and journalism into a millennia-spanning story about how Chinese women—and their goddess traditions—fostered a counterculture that flourishes and grows stronger every day.

As Brian Griffith charts the stories of China’s founding mothers, shamanesses, goddesses, and ordinary heroines, he also explores the largely untold story of women’s contributions to cultural life in the world’s biggest society and provides inspiration for all global citizens.

Brian Griffith grew up in Texas, studied history at the University of Alberta, and now lives just outside of Toronto, Ontario. He is an independent historian who examines how cultural history influences our lives, and how collective experience offers insights for our future.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inspired by a statue of the Chinese goddess of universal compassion, Guanyin, that stands in the author's hometown of Toronto, historian Griffith (Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story) presents this wide-ranging anthology of Chinese goddesses. For centuries, Guanyin has been an object of devotion for Chinese Buddhists and, as Kannon, to Japanese and Korean followers. Working from the comprehensive history of Chinese gender relations published in 1995 by the Chinese Partnership Studies Group (The Chalice & The Blade in Chinese Culture), the author seeks to prove that goddess-based faiths promote a strong "reverence for life." Written in a readable first person and presented in textbook format with chapter subheads, this catalogue of goddesses ranges from the dawn of creation and the half-snake goddess Nü Wa, to 20th century heroines such as Deng Yingchao, wife of Zhou Enlai. In addition to serving as a valuable historical reference guide, Griffith's study sheds light on the evolution of women's roles in Chinese society, from the early days of matrilineal "womb" clans (a legacy still apparent in Taiwan) to revolutionary female activists of the 20th century. Includes maps, timelines, alphabetical glossary of goddesses and divine couples, and bibliography.
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From the Publisher

ForeWord Reviews Mother’s Day Staff Pick: “Books Mom Will Love”

“Written in a readable first person and presented in textbook format with chapter subheads, this catalogue of goddesses ranges from the dawn of creation and the half-snake goddess Nü Wa, to 20th century heroines such as Deng Yingchao, wife of Zhou Enlai. In addition to serving as a valuable historical reference guide, Griffith’s study sheds light on the evolution of women’s roles in Chinese society.” —Publishers Weekly

“To read through this compendium of female icons in the Chinese culture is to appreciate the ebb and flow of the changing Chinese environment across the thousands of years and especially to appreciate the role women have played in such a changing culture.” —New York Journal of Books

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935259145
Publisher:
Exterminating Angel Press
Publication date:
05/08/2012
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
1170L (what's this?)

What People are Saying About This

Riane Eisler
This book is a most engaging and entertaining read, and the depth of its scholarship is astounding. Griffith vividly describes the counterculture of Chinese goddesses, shows that their fascinating stories are alive and active today, and points us toward a more inclusive and caring partnership future. (RIANE EISLER, author of The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics and The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future)
Wang Ping
This is a very ambitious and timely book, a book that many historians, literary theorists and story tellers who care about China and its "Other Half of the Sky" want to write, but Brian Griffith did it first, with such scope, ease and fun. (WANG PING, author of The Last Communist Virgin and Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China)
Min Jiayin
It is a great pleasure to read A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization—especially to know that our book was its author's inspiration. Now a wonderful book on the same subject appears that should be an added treasure for our audience. I really hope,by virtue of this book, that the yin side of Chinese civilization will be fully known by, and bring blessing to, the world. (MIN JIAYIN, Editor-in-Chief of The Chalice & The Blade in Chinese Culture, by The Chinese Partnership Research Group)

Meet the Author

Brian Griffith, who grew up in Texas, studied history at the University of Alberta, and now lives just outside of Toronto, is an independent historian who sees research as a means to finding contemporary solutions for the world’s biggest problems. He has spent twenty five years patiently unraveling the truth behind the stories that make up our cultural history—from who tells them, what purposes they serve, and how they have evolved over time—through his books The Gardens of Their Dreams: Desertification and Culture in World History, Different Visions of Love: The Partnership and Dominator Values in World History, Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story, and The Fall and Rise of Chinese Goddesses(forthcoming in May 2012).

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A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
FRINGEINDEPENEDENTREVIEW More than 1 year ago
Chinese Women is not, as I imagined from the title, a book full of simple legends about women of great skills or accomplishments from Chinese fairy tales.  Rather this is a marvelous book about the other side of Chinese culture – the feminine polarity in Chinese history.  Although the Chinese culture that is so familiar today seems to be male-dominated, the author introduces the reader to an undercurrent of feminine wisdom and strength that supports the society.   Brian Griffith, author of Chinese Women, introduces us to the idea of female leadership in the dimly lit past of Chinese history through snippets of folklore and myth; especially regarding powerful women, immortalized over time as goddesses.  Griffith tells us of the legend or the memory, of a time when people lived together without the need for what we think of today as ‘power.  They simply accepted leadership from the people (male or female) who were best equipped (by virtue of their natural capabilities) to provide guidance and direction for the group. Griffith dips in and out of Chinese history and legends, quoting illustrative snippets of text from ancient historians and writers (i.e. the Songs of Chu from around 300 BCE and an inscription on Shang dynasty oracle bones from around 1300 BCE.)  Griffith doesn’t limit his research to ancient texts, however.  He searches for insight, and provides many more snippets quoted from such modern day scholarly writers as Joan Judge, (The Precious Raft of History:  The Past, The West, and the Woman Question in China, 2008) and Chang Mo-chun, (Opposition to Footbinding, 1992).   Chinese Women manages to be entertaining and easy to read, and yet be quite impressive in terms of the scholarly work, and its breadth historical insight.  Griffith displays his remarkable ability to translate not Chinese words, but a Chinese subcultural mindset that exists beneath the male-dominated and more accessible historical records.
Laurie1 More than 1 year ago
Griffith looks underneath all the official male-governed organized religious traditions to show the folklore and spirituality of women’s popular religions, which are maybe bigger than any official cult ever was. Maybe it exaggerates things, but it’s still a great contribution to how we see China.
Anthonik More than 1 year ago
A tremendous effort This book must have taken many years to research and write, because it has an enormous amount of information pulled together. It’s also presented in a clear and entertaining way, and it shows great esteem for the contributions of Chinese women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a dramatic and powerful story that's important for the whole world to hear. The first three chapters are the best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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