A Chinese Bestiary
Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas
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Chinese Bestiary by Richard E. Strassberg
Book DescriptionA Chinese Bestiary presents a fascinating pageant of mythical creatures from a unique and enduring cosmography written in ancient China. The Guideways through Mountains and Seas, compiled between the fourth and first centuries b.c.e., contains descriptions of hundreds of fantastic denizens of mountains, rivers, islands, and seas, along with minerals, flora, and medicine. The text also represents a wide range of beliefs held by the ancient Chinese. Richard Strassberg brings the Guideways to life for modern readers by weaving together translations from the work itself with information from other texts and recent archaeological finds to create a lavishly illustrated guide to the imaginative world of early China. Unlike the bestiaries of the late medieval period in Europe, the Guideways was not interpreted allegorically; the strange creatures described in it were regarded as actual entities found throughout the landscape. The work was originally used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for travelers, and as a book of omens. Today, it is regarded as the richest repository of ancient Chinese mythology and shamanistic wisdom. The Guideways may have been illustrated from the start, but the earliest surviving illustrations are woodblock engravings from a rare 1597 edition. Seventy-six of those plates are reproduced here for the first time, and they provide a fine example of the Chinese engraver's art during the late Ming dynasty. This beautiful volume, compiled by a well-known specialist in the field, provides a fascinating window on the thoughts and beliefs of an ancient people, and will delight specialists and general readers alike.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520218444
(254mm x 178mm x 28mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 24-Jan-2003
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Richard E. Strassberg
Thirty-Six Views, Hardback (October 2016)
Thirty-Six Views comprises poems and descriptions published by the Kangxi emperor in 1712 commemorating his newly finished summer palace and reflecting on his life there. The text is accompanied by wood-block prints of its most scenic views created by several outstanding court artists and copperplate engravings by Italian artist Matteo Ripa.
Wandering Spirits, Hardback (April 2008)View all books by Richard E. Strassberg
A translation and study of the most comprehensive work on dream culture in traditional China - "Lofty Principles of Dream Interpretation". It is accompanied by an introduction that surveys the evolution of Chinese dream culture and the role of Chen Shiyuan and his encyclopedia.
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Author Biography - Richard E. Strassberg
Richard E. Strassberg is Professor of Chinese at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Inscribed Landscapes: Travel Writing from Imperial China (California, 1994), Enlightening Remarks on Painting by Shih-t'ao (1989), and The World of K'ung Shang-jen (1983).
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