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

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

by Brian Griffith
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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.
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