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 historic China. The Guideways via Mountains and Seas, compiled among the fourth and primary centuries b.c.e., includes descriptions of enormous quantities of amazing denizens of mountains, rivers, islands, and seas, besides minerals, vegetation, and medication. The textual content additionally represents quite a lot of ideals held via the traditional chinese language. Richard Strassberg brings the Guideways to lifestyles for contemporary readers by way of weaving jointly translations from the paintings itself with info from different texts and up to date archaeological reveals to create a lavishly illustrated advisor to the ingenious international of early China. not like the bestiaries of the overdue medieval interval in Europe, the Guideways used to be now not interpreted allegorically the unfamiliar beings defined in it have been considered as real entities came across through the panorama. The paintings used to be initially used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for tourists, and as a booklet of omens.
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Extra info for A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas
Wei Yan was made marshal of Chu, and Zimu [the chief minister] commissioned him to regulate the government levies and count the number of cuirasses and weapons each fief had to contribute . . Wei Yan made a register of arable lands, measured the mountains and forests, calculated the area of marshlands, distinguished the highlands and the downs, listed salt tracts, enumerated the borders of flooded areas, measured the area of diked reservoirs, regularized balks to divide the plains between embankments, assigned low wetlands for pasturage, divided fertile land into units shaped like the graph “jing” ´ [well].
In one of the essays in his Judicious Disquisitions entitled “Special Understanding” (Lunheng: Bietong, c. ), Wang supported the traditional authorship of Yu the Great and his o‹cial Yi, considering them intrepid explorers who never could have written the Guideways if they had not personally traveled. 59 The Guideways continued to be consulted at this time as a practical geography. When Emperor Ming (r. ) dispatched the o‹cial Wang Jing (d. c. 60 The next important mention of the Guideways appears in the earliest surviving bibliography, the “Treatise on Literature” in the o‹cial History of the Han Dynasty (Han- 1 4 I N T R O D U C T I O N shu: Yiwenzhi, late 1st cent.
Detail of decorative images on a zither excavated from a Warring States–period tomb in Chu (modern Changtaiguan, Xinyang, Henan) in 1957. Henan Provincial Museum. Guan went on to note the various government positions occupied by wu-shamans, indicating that some of them not only played a role in o‹cial cults but were also incorporated into the political structure. There was undoubtedly much diversity in the styles of their magical practices and beliefs, reflecting not only hierarchical di erences among them but also the considerable variations of local cultures.