Death in Ancient China: The Tale Of One Man's Journey (China by Constance A. Cook

By Constance A. Cook

This richly illustrated booklet presents a glimpse into the assumption process and the fabric wealth of the social elite in pre-Imperial China via an in depth research of tomb contents and excavated bamboo texts. element of departure is the textual and fabric proof present in one tomb of an elite guy buried in 316 BCE close to a as soon as filthy rich heart Yangzi River valley city. specific emphasis is put on the position of cosmological symbolism and the character of the spirit international. the writer indicates how affliction and loss of life have been perceived as steps in a non secular trip from one realm into one other. Transmitted textual documents are in comparison with excavated texts. The format and contents of this multi-chambered tomb are analyzed as are the contents of 2 texts, a checklist of divination and sacrifices played over the past 3 years of the occupant's lifestyles and a tomb stock list of mortuary presents. The texts are totally translated and annotated within the appendices. A first-time close-up view of a collection of neighborhood ideals which not just replicate the bigger historic chinese language non secular procedure but in addition underlay the wealthy highbrow and creative lifetime of pre-Imperial China. it's supplied with first complete translations of texts formerly unknown to all other than a small handful of sinologists.

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Towels, combs, and bathing clothes were placed in baskets and also set at the foot of the western steps. After the grain was boiled, the water was placed in the basins and taken into the house. 88 The two attendants then trimmed the deceased’s mustache, hair, and nails; bound up and pinned his hair; and put on his three layers of grave clothes,89 covered his face circling a burial mound: “While it is fate that the bones and flesh shall return to the earth, the hunqi Ꮢ௛ʳcould be anywhere” (Liji Zhengzhu, sect.

11, in Zhuzi jicheng, vol. 1, 254-57). 114 See Li Ling 2004, 165, fig. 2; or Cook and Major 1999, 145, fig. 1. 109 death as journey 41 along with more abstract dragon-and-phoenix designs. 116 In Chapter Five, I discuss the role of the hybrid tomb-guardian figure, part tiger, part dragon, often bifurcated into two masked faces with long tongues, and antlers on its heads. I suggest that this figure may have represented the consumption of the dead, the shedding of the deceased’s corporeal self, and transmutation into a new winged form.

41 Glosses of li as zao ᔡ “encounter” versus bie ܑ “separate from” date to the Han period. Wang Yi (2d c. CE) understood the title Lisao jing as “the path for departing sorrow” (reading jing ᆖʳas உ ); see You Guo’en 1982, 3-4. 39 death as journey 27 did not die slowly of illness but took his own life—a much more powerful and aggressive step into the otherworld, as he could now return as a vengeful ghost. After being exiled by King Huai to the Changsha region, south of the Yangzi River, Qu drowned himself in the Miluo River ް ᢅ‫ ۂ‬, thus making it impossible to bury his body (and hence better to negotiate with his spirit).

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