A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways by Richard E. Strassberg

By Richard E. Strassberg

Китайский Бестиарий: Мифические существа в древнекитайском трактате Шань Хай Цзин («Каталог гор и морей»). Трактат, описывающий реальную и мифическую географию Китая и соседних земель и обитающие там создания, традиционно приписывается легендарному Великому Юю. A chinese language Bestiary provides a desirable competition of legendary creatures from a special and enduring cosmography written in historical China. The Guideways via Mountains and Seas, compiled among the fourth and primary centuries b.c.e., includes descriptions of thousands of amazing denizens of mountains, rivers, islands, and seas, besides minerals, plants, and drugs. The textual content additionally represents a variety of ideals held by means of the traditional chinese language. Richard Strassberg brings the Guideways to lifestyles for contemporary readers by means of weaving jointly translations from the paintings itself with info from different texts and up to date archaeological unearths to create a lavishly illustrated consultant to the inventive global of early China. not like the bestiaries of the overdue medieval interval in Europe, the Guideways was once now not interpreted allegorically the unfamiliar beings defined in it have been considered as real entities came upon in the course of the panorama. The paintings used to be initially used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for tourists, and as a ebook of omens.

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Extra resources for A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas

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Its concept of “India” was highly mythical, not only denoting that land but places beyond it as well. Despite the increase in travel and the more factual accounts that appeared over the centuries, many European scholars continued to a‹rm the existence of these creatures somewhere in the direction of the distant east. There are intriguing parallels between some of these figures and foreign tribes in the Guideways such as people with large, heavy ears that they must carry (fig. 4), who may be compared to the People Who Hold Up Their Ears [no.

E. ”57 Liu Xin’s editorial contributions to this and other ancient texts were probably considerable. Because his edition only survives through that of the scholar and commentator Guo Pu (276–324) three centuries later, modern scholars are still seeking to uncover Liu Xin’s precise role. He may have stitched together several separate cosmographies into one book, noted variant versions of these texts, reorganized the chapters, and perhaps interpolated additional material. In addition, he probably translated the ancient graphs from their archaic styles into the simpler, more standardized calligraphic forms that had evolved during the Han dynasty.

220] and the Long-Thighs People [no. 47 Painted scrolls with extensive colophons that survive from the Six Dynasties period indicate that records were kept of such peoples, including images of their appearance, a practice that may have begun much earlier (see fig. 14, page 56). 48 The sections of the Guideways on foreign peoples, though containing much that is fantastic, record information that also appears in these and other early sources as well. Last, the Guideways can be related to an important group of texts that lie somewhat outside the mainstream of those mentioned above.

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