Divination, in various forms, has had a long history in China. Moreover, divination has had enormous influence in the cosmological, literary, philosophical, and scientific life at every strata of society. Here, Smith (history, Rice Univ.) presents a historical overview and examines divinatory practices and their role in the Qing Dynasty. The role of Yijing (The Book of Changes) and its enormous influence is analyzed in detail. This important, scholarly work is thoroughly researched and footnoted, and provides a unique insight into Chinese society. However, due to the subject's specificity, only collections that serve scholars in history and anthropolo gy need acquire.-- Gail Wood, Montgom ery Coll. Lib., Germantown, Md.
As he explains the pervasiveness and tenacity of divination in China, Smith (history, Rice U.) explores not only the connections between various mantric techniques but also the relationship between divination and other facets of Chinese culture, including philosophy, science, and medicine. He concludes with a discussion of divination in 20th- century China and offers comparative reflections and suggestions for further cross-cultural research. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)