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Divination, Mythology and Monarchy in Han China

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The four centuries of the Han dynasties from 206 BC to AD 220 witnessed major developments in the ideas of sovereignty. Michael Loewe traces these changes along with some of their religious aspects, including the techniques used by emperors and others to forecast the future or to divine the present. Both mythology and the tradition of learning affected the growth of the imperial ideal that, despite its failings, was of major importance both for the Han and China's subsequent dynasties.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Readers of this volume will be richly rewarded by the breadth and depth of Professor Loewe's scholarship. Divination, Mythology and Monarchy in Han China is also a stimulating introduction to important issues concerning Han intellectual and religious history and well illustrates the kind of penetrating cultural analysis that is possible with the adept use of both traditionally received texts and evidence from the archeological record." Journal of Chinese Religions

"A very valuable source of rich information....Because of rapid changes in the field, we welcome more of this kind of work, that is, collections of proven scholarship that reflect the accumulated wisdom of a veteran scholar." Cho-Yun Hsu, American Historical Review

"Shows how the study of the Han period has developed in the past few decades. This impressive collection is of value to scholars and students of Chinese religion, history, and culture." Religious Studies Review

"Anyone who prefers faddish jargon to lucid exposition is advised to look elsewhere." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of figures; Preface; Acknowledgements; 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; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.

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